HBO Hacker Leaks Message From HBO Offering $250,000 ‘Bounty Payment’ (EXCLUSIVE)

HBO Hacker Leaks Message From HBO
Courtesy of HBO

The HBO hacker has struck yet again.

Variety has obtained a copy of another message released Thursday by the anonymous hacker to select journalists in which HBO is apparently responding to the initial video letter that was sent informing the Time Warner-owned company of the massive data breach. The message from HBO, dated July 27, features the network’s offer to make a “bounty payment” of $250,000 as part of a program in which “white hat IT professionals” are rewarded for “bringing these types of things to our attention.”

While the message takes a curiously non-confrontational tone in response to a hacker out to damage HBO, a source close to the investigation who confirmed the veracity of the email explained it was worded that way to stall for time while the company attempted to assess the serious situation. It also opened the possibility that a $250,000 payment would be enough to appease the hacker and avert the kind of leak that impacted other companies, from Sony to Netflix.

The message also implores the hacker to extend a ransom-payment deadline for one week while the $250,000 payment is made and the necessary amount of bitcoin can be secured. “You have the advantage of having surprised us,” the message reads. “In the spirit of professional cooperation, we are asking you to extend your deadline for one week.”

The $250,000 sum is also well short of the “six months salary” request made in the video letter by the hacker, who claims to make $12 million to $15 million per year.

HBO declined to comment.

Variety has opted not to publish the name or email address of the HBO executive from which the message was sent.

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  1. Kj says:

    I C $$$ 2 B MADE! soooo YouTube shows u how to hack, huh? Hmmmm

  2. Jeffrey W says:

    There must be a shitstorm of damaging information if HBO is willing to pay anything. A “bounty” payment as a reward is a good try at spin, but come on!

    I cannot wait for the eventual dump of info.

  3. SMS says:

    The more often companies give in and pay hackers, the more often this is going to happen. Only an industry wide “We wont pay blackmailers” attitude will have any chance of limiting future hacks. Otherwise it’s just an endless game of technological whack-a-mole that will always be won by the hackers.

    • Blah blah says:

      If HBO is worried about a leak of sensitive information, they should be concerned. If it was simply a leak of, say, episodes or seasons of a show, they might as well make all of the leaked material immediately available on Hulu, so people will find it more convenient to go there and watch if they already own a subscription (I mean, there are surely other shows available on Hulu other than the leaked ones that customers care about). And that will make it seem more appealing to watch it on Hulu and endure the ads vs watching the show on some slow pirate website, surely.

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