HBO gets $6m ransom demand to stop Game of Thrones leaks

The leaked episode – which is marked For Internal Viewing Only – is being shared across the web

Let's backtrack: Unidentified hackers claimed they took 1.5 terabytes of data from HBO in late July - things like episodes of "Ballers" and "Room 104", as well as cast information, scripts and other data from HBO's golden egg, "Game of Thrones".

The Hollywood Reporter and Variety both obtained a copy of a message from HBO on August 10, that was sent to the anonymous hacker back in July.

It also contains a plea from HBO to extend the ransom-payment deadline for one week while the transfer was being made.

Variety, citing sources "close" to HBO, said the network was merely trying to buy time to figure out its next move, and it never had an intention of paying what the email termed as a "bounty". Rather than being confrontational, appearing to offer an olive branch allows HBO to fully assess the situation. In their initial video to HBO, they requested "six months salary", claiming to make $12 million to $15 million per year.

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HBO may have offered a "bug bounty" to hackers that stole a bunch of its content. HBO declined to comment to both publications, but Variety says it was able to confirm that the email was real.

The first incident of the hacking came over a week ago when the fourth episode of the current series of Game of Thrones was leaked on Reddit days before its Monday broadcast. A lot of companies offer them.

Variety reported on Wednesday morning that at least one of the leaked documents seems to have been manipulated by the hackers - to make it look like they accessed the email of HBO CEO Richard Plepler - casting doubt on the severity of the hack and the abilities of "Mr. Smith". While $250,000 in bitcoin is a lot of money to most people, it isn't almost the amount the hacker originally demanded.

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