New details have emerged on how HBO is responding to the massive cyber attack that compromised as much as 1.5 terabytes of its data. As episodes of Game of Thrones, Ballers, Insecure, and more shows have been released online, and the network turns to the FBI for help, its efforts to minimize the damage from this attack are looking more futile by the minute.
According to Variety, HBO responded to a hacker’s message by offering a $250,000 bounty payment. The message is from July 27, just five day before news of the initial hack hit the web. HBO offered the bounty as “part of a program in which white hat IT professionals are rewarded for bringing these types of things to our attention." But the offer is much lower than the $6 million the hackers asked for. They're looking for “six months salary,” and they supposedly make between $12-15 million a year, so HBO's offer doesn't look like it will do the trick by comparison.
A "source close to the investigation" said the bounty payment offer is legit, and explained that the message HBO sent took on a deliberate non-confrontational tone as a way to stall the hackers while HBO continues assessing the situation. HBO hoped this sum would be enough to keep it safe from a larger hack the likes of which Sony and Netflix have suffered from in the past. But according to Slash Film, this HBO hack is potentially more dangerous than the infamous Sony hack back in 2014.
The report states that HBO also asked the hackers to wait an extra week for the money while the network collected enough bitcoins, should they accept the $250,000 HBO is offering. “You have the advantage of having surprised us,” HBO's message read. “In the spirit of professional cooperation, we are asking you to extend your deadline for one week.”
The hackers initially threatened to release even more sensitive information if the network didn't pay up by Aug. 10.