Both Varietyand The Hollywood Reporterreport receiving an email from the hackers containing a transcript of a message sent by HBO offering payment. "In the spirit of professional cooperation, we are asking you to extend your deadline for one week". The hackers have reportedly demanded $6 million to hold off on the release of the data.
The note said that HBO was willing to make the payment "as a show of good faith", but needed time to fund an account for sending payments in bitcoin digital currency or obtain account information from the hackers so it could use a conventional bank wire to transmit the funds. While HBO may have had no intention of paying, it's unusual to see such a huge corporation engaging with a hacker at all.
With Time Warner beholden to the Trump administration during this sensitive time, who knows what kind of emails hackers might have found surrounding, say, the production of Real Time With Bill Maher, hosted by a staunch opponent of the President?
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.More news: Solar eclipse 2017: Here's how to view it without special glasses
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The email described the payment as a Time Warner program created to reward white hat internet operatives who bring sensitive threats to management's attention.
The hackers last released HBO data two days ago, when they published the home addresses and phone numbers belonging to some Game of Thrones stars.
HBO has said it was working with forensic experts and law enforcement in response to the attack.