HBO offers hackers $250,000 in Bitcoin

HBO offers hackers $250,000 in Bitcoin for stolen Game of Thrones scripts
11 August

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  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...".

Gibraltar launches license for firms using blockchain

The license would formally recognize the use of blockchain records as an accepted mechanism for transmitting payments
14 December

The Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) will introduce the world’s first bespoke license for fintech firms using blockchain technology from next month in in attempt to attract start-ups.

The license is the first of its kind and would formally recognize the use of blockchain records as an accepted mechanism for transmitting payments, paving the way for broader adoption.

This is the first instance of a purpose-built legislative framework for businesses that use blockchain or distributed ledger technology.

 

Nicky Gomez

The head of risk and innovation, GFSC

GFSC will publish guidance on Friday for applying its new law for firms that use blockchain to “transmit or store” cash and assets belonging to others - much in the same way as a bank is authorized.

According to Nicky Gomez, Gibraltar expects firms numbering well into “double digits” to seek authorization after the new rules come into force on January 1. Firms will have to treat customers fairly, and must have adequate IT systems and controls to comply with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules.