HBO, an American premium cable and satellite television network, was hacked last week.
The hackers claim to have 1.5 terabytes of data from HBO, including scripts, unaired episodes of Game of Thrones, one of the most popular fantasy drama television series created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and confidential company documents.
HBO hackers ransom note
To stop the leaks, the hackers demanded their “6 month salary in Bitcoin”, which they implied is at least $6 million.
Now, Bitcoin-extortioners have leaked a screenshot of an email that shows a senior VP for the network offering the hackers $250,000 as a "bug bounty payment."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the email dated July 27th indicates a negotiation going on between the network and the hackers. But the HBO executive's missive to the hackers is carefully worded and avoids language that would be construed as paying off the hackers and instead is framed as an offer for a reward for discovering vulnerabilities in HBO's system.
As a show of good faith on our side, 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
It is unclear if the HBO email is authentic or if it has been doctored in any way.
We also have not been able to put into place the necessary infrastructure to be able to make a large payment in bitcoin, although we are taking steps to do so as you suggested.
The HBO executive
The Hollywood Reporter claims, on August 3rd,the hackers sent an email to THR, indicating their motive: "It's just about money. We have weeks of negotiations with HBO officials, but they broke their promises and want to play with us...".