The Game of Thrones hackers are still at it. A supposed leaked email, sent to Forbes and other publications by the extortionists, appeared to come from HBO executive, offering a $250,000 “bug bounty” for showing up weaknesses in the company’s system.
HBO has not yet confirmed or denied the validity of the email, through it has previously admitted to a breach, after the hackers, who use the two names, Little Finger and Mr Smith, leaked Game of Thrones episodes and personal information of the cast.
The email containing the bug bounty offer came from Little Finger in a message promising a “second wave.” The alleged HBO offer was sent to Little Finger’s email address, hosted in China. According to the leaked image, the HBO exec wrote that the company had not been able to acquire the amount of Bitcoin of hacker’s demand, which was apparently around $6 million in the crypto currency, their apparent six-month salary. If the amount is not paid, then hackers promised to leak 1.5 terabytes of HBO’s corporate information.
“You have the advantage of having stunned us,” the email read. “In the courage of professional cooperation, we are asking you to extend your deadline for one week. 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 possible. We can establish the necessary account and acquire bitcoin, or we can wire the funds as soon as you will give us the account information.”
In a previous email, Little Finger, named after the Machiavellian Game of Thrones character Petyr Baelish, wrote: “If history repeats itself, HBO may NEVER be the same Again. Winter really is here.” The original leak, containing a alleged script and notes of a Game of Thrones episode, came from Mr Smith, who claimed to have access to all HBO’s internal emails. “We have weeks of negotiations with HBO officials, but they broke their promises and want to play with us,” Mr Smith wrote on August 3rd, signing off: “HBO is falling.”
Despite the overstatement, the attack is yet to be hugely harmful for the network. Even the leaked episodes haven’t caused a dip in those watching the shows, airing every Sunday. The last episode scored 10.2 million live viewers.
HBO hadn’t responded to a request for comment at the time of publication. It’s previously said it’s working with cybersecurity experts to assess the damage and recover from the attack.
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