HBO offers $250000 as 'bounty payment' to hackers

Ruben Ruiz
Августа 13, 2017

"We are willing to commit to making a bug bounty payment of $250,000 to you as soon as we can establish the necessary account and acquire Bitcoin", the HBO executive's email reportedly stated.

In the message, dated July 27, a senior vice president from HBO suggests the amount of money as a reward for the hackers discovering a security issue with the company's network.

The hackers did not respond to a request for comment through the email address they used to communicate with HBO.

While the message takes a curiously non-confrontational tone in response to a hacker out to damage HBO, a source close to the investigation who confirmed the veracity of the email explained it was worded that way to stall for time while the company attempted to assess the serious situation.

The hack follows attacks on Netflix, where a hacker demanded a ransom in exchange for not leaking episodes of Orange is the New Black.

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Regardless of whether HBO meant to follow through with its US$250,000 offer, the e-mail on Friday raised questions among security professionals about the importance of the data and whether HBO's reaction might encourage future attacks. "They're being extorted. If it was a bug bounty, it'd be on the up and up".

HBO also requested the hackers to extend a ransom payment deadline by one week, Variety said. "You have the advantage of having surprised us", the message reads. A few days after HBO sent the note, the hackers went to the media with details of the breach.

On Monday, hackers using the name "Mr Smith" posted online a fresh cache of stolen HBO files and demanded that the network pay a multimillion-dollar ransom to prevent further releases.

Last week the hacker group leaked one script of "Games of Thrones" and content from other HBO productions.

There were also internal documents, including a report of legal claims against the network and job offer letters to top executives.

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