With half the world waiting to see how Game of Thrones ends, troublemakers are disrupting things at HBO and waltzing through with big demands. Hackers using the pseudonym "Mr. Smith" claim if HBO doesn't come up with a big payday by Aug. 10, they'll be releasing a bunch of sensitive data and previously unseen episodes of all the HBO shows you know and love.
But the hack has gotten a lot more personal with a new data dump, and one file attached to the cast list of Game of Thrones appears to show contact information for some of the stars of the show. Phone numbers and email addresses for the likes of Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, and Emilia Clarke were thrown in as part of the latest document dump, alongside scripts for Game of Thrones episodes and emails from HBO vice president Leslie Cohen. At least one of the Game of Thrones scripts is believed to be for an upcoming episode.
To stop forthcoming leaks, the hackers have a simple request—pay up. Claiming they make between $12-15 million a year extorting companies like HBO, the hackers are demanding "our six month salary in bitcoin" to prevent bigger upcoming leaks. For those of you who aren't too good at math, that would represent at least a $6 million payout on the network's behalf.
Thus far, HBO has shown no willingness to cooperate with the people behind the leak, though they have admitted that part of the data stolen includes "some of our programming" when discussing the matter internally.
"Any intrusion of this nature is obviously disruptive, unsettling and disturbing for all of us," wrote HBO chief executive Richard Plepler. "The problem before us is unfortunately all too familiar in the world we now find ourselves a part of."
With Game of Thrones in full swing, the timing could not be worse for the network. The show is in the midst of what some believe is its best stretch ever, and streaming records are being broken as the show edges closer to its dramatic conclusion. One way or another, the network needs to find a solution to their problem.