HBO Hacker Leaks Message From HBO Offering $250000 'Bounty Payment'

A group of hackers involved in a cyber-attack on HBO have reportedly demanded $250,000 as ransom

In HBO's new message, leaked by the hacker and dated July 27, a network executive offers a $US250,000 payment to the hackers as part of program in which "white hat IT professionals" are rewarded for "bringing these types of things to our attention", according to Variety.

A ransom note that was apparently sent to HBO from a hacker calling himself Mr. Smith was leaked on Monday.

Now both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter claim that they have obtained a copy of a recent email which includes leaked details of the hacker's correspondence with the HBO executive. The hackers have reportedly demanded $6 million to hold off on the release of the data.

HBO also requested the hackers to extend a ransom payment deadline by one week, Variety said.

"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 exec says in the email.

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It must be noted here that HBO is not using the term "ransom"; instead, the company is stressing the phrase "bug bounty payment".

The figure is rather less than the hackers had asked for, and it's not clear whether HBO was making a genuine offer of money, or just playing for time.

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 note from the hacker calling himself Mr. Smith included scripts from five Game of Thrones episodes, emails from the account of HBO's vice president for film programming, Leslie Cohen, and two internal documents. The email indicates a negotiation between the network and the hackers.

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