HBO offers $250000 as 'bounty payment' to hackers

HBO offers $250000 as 'bounty payment' to hackers

According to the ransom note, Time Warner's premium cable network had three days to make the payment.

The hackers behind HBO's recent data breach have leaked an email in which the US cable channel offered them $250,000 as a "bounty payment", Hollywood trade paper Variety reported on Thursday.

HBO also requested the hackers to extend a ransom payment deadline by one week, Variety said.

"We also have not been able to put into place the necessary infrastructure to be able to make a large payment in bitcoin, although we are taking steps to do so as you suggested", the HBO exec says in the email. Bug bounties are pretty common in the tech world, and they're paid to hackers who reveal flaws in companies' cyber-security.

The figure is rather less than the hackers had asked for, and it's not clear whether HBO was making a genuine offer of money, or just playing for time.

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HBO declined to comment on the leaked message to Variety, but the publication confirmed the veracity of the email with someone close to the investigation.

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The hacker - or hackers - in question stole "thousands of Home Box Office (HBO) internal company documents", in addition to leaking unaired episodes of the HBO shows "Ballers" and "Insecure", and company emails. One of them was a summary of legal claims against the company, and the other was the job offer letters to the top executives, reports The New York Times.

The email appears to originate from the same address that was used to leak the material accessed by the hackers. This was the second data leak from the hackers, but so far, the damage to the network has been limited compared to a similar hack on Sony's network in 2014.

The hack suffered by HBO has been in the headlines for the last couple of weeks, not least because it led to the leak of episodes and scripts.

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