HBO offered $250,000 as a "bounty payment" to a hacker who stole TV show scripts from the company, according to an email obtained by CNBC, but a source familiar with the situation said it was just a "delay tactic". "The July 27 email was sent by an HBO executive who thanked the hackers for "making us aware" of previously unknown security vulnerabilities".
The Hollywood Reporter says it got an email from the hackers August 3 saying, "It's just about money".
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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".
The hackers demanded money worth six months of their salary, claiming they make $12 million to $15 million from stealing intellectual property and blackmailing companies. While the network is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies to put an end to this, it is surprising to see that it even made an offer to the hackers. To date, they have released only 3.4 GB of data from the initial hack of 1.5 TB.
Their biggest threat appears to be dumping videos of future shows online with their logo "HBO Is Falling" superimposed. The memo also asks that the ransom deadline set by the hacker be pushed back one week so the necessary amount of bitcoin may be secured. It is likely that HBO was trying to not have anything leaked out in public. "We have weeks of negotiations with HBO officials, but they broke their promises and want to play with us...", they said.