HBO Hackers Demand Millions in Ransom

Data dump so far has included 'Game of Thrones' script
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 8, 2017 12:04 AM CDT
Updated Aug 8, 2017 1:03 AM CDT
This image released by HBO shows Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister in an episode of "Game of Thrones."   (Macall B. Polay)
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(Newser) – A group of hackers posted a fresh cache of stolen HBO files online Monday and demanded a multimillion-dollar ransom from the network. HBO, which had previously acknowledged the theft of "proprietary information," says it's continuing to investigate and is working with police and cybersecurity experts. In a swaggering five-minute video from "Mr. Smith" to HBO CEO Richard Plepler included in the dump, the hackers used white text scrolling on a black background to deliver an ultimatum. In short: Pay up within three days or see the group, which claims to have stolen 1.5 terabytes of HBO shows and confidential corporate data, upload entire series and sensitive proprietary files, the AP reports.

The hackers demanded "our 6-month salary in bitcoin" and claimed they earn $12 million to $15 million a year from blackmailing organizations whose networks they've penetrated. They said they would only deal directly with "Richard" and only send one "letter" detailing how to pay. The dump itself was just 3.4 gigabytes— mostly technical data, though it includes what appear to be draft scripts from five Game of Thrones episodes, including one upcoming episode, and a month's worth of email apparently from the account of Leslie Cohen, HBO's vice president for film programming. The network reiterated Monday that it doesn't believe that its email system as a whole has been compromised. (Read more HBO stories.)

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