Did HBO executives offer hackers behind recent breach a $250,000 reward in an effort to avoid appearing to pay them a ransom?
That is the question that might naturally arise after the emergence of an email screen shot obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. The image shows a senior vice president for the entertainment network offering the hackers $250,000 as a “bug bounty payment.”
The email is carefully worded to avoid the appearance that the payment is anything other than a reward for discovering vulnerabilities in HBO’s system, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The hackers, who posted several of HBO’s new episodes and a “Game of Thrones” script online in late July, have reportedly an unspecified payment of money.
In the email obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, an executive says the network has “been working hard since [July 23] to review all of the material that you have made available to us. … In the spirit of professional cooperation, we are asking you to extend your deadline for one week.” The email continues, “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.”
Hackers claim to have stolen 1.5TB of data from the company, including forthcoming episodes of “Ballers” and “Room 104,” and posting them online. Hackers warned last month that more material was yet to come.
An HBO representative didn’t immediate respond to a request for comment.
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