In what appears to be an embarrassment tactic, the HBO hackers - known collectively as "Mr. Smith" - released an email sent to them by HBO offering $250,000 as a "bug bounty payment". The email sent by a top HBO executive was leaked by hackers to the media earlier today.
In that message, an HBO executive reportedly writes, "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". HBO is not negotiating with the hackers, and the email was merely an attempt to buy some time, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday citing "a person familiar with the matter".
The message reads, "You have the advantage of having surprised us".
So far, the hackers have released multiple episodes of HBO shows including Game of Thrones, Ballers and Room 104, along with scripts of already-aired and upcoming episodes.
The hackers' ransom demand is "six months salary worth in bitcoin", which given their claim of $12 million (roughly Rs. 76.5 crores) annually, comes to about $6 million (roughly Rs. 38.2 crores).
This is the second data dump from the purported hacker. It is likely that HBO was trying to not have anything leaked out in public.
The video letter uploaded on Monday claimed the hackers spend a half million dollars a year to purchase "zero-day" exploits that let them break into networks through holes not yet know to Microsoft and other software companies. HBO also requested the hackers to extend a ransom payment deadline by one week. "It's just about money".style="text-align: center;"