About a fortnight back, hackers broke into HBO's servers and stole a staggering 1.5 terabytes of data including five draft scripts of the seventh season of Game of Thrones as well as the personal numbers and addresses, home and email both, of the cast members of season 7 including Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, and Kit Harington. The same hackers have subsequently released two dumps of HBO material and demanded a multi-million dollar ransom.
Now a leaked email suggests that HBO offered the perpetrators a sum of $250,000 to delay the leaks.
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.
Ironically, the recent data dump happened shortly after HBO claimed that their email system had not been compromised yet.
The hacker behind the cyberattack against USA television network Home Box Office (HBO) was allegedly offered a $250,000 (£192,827, €212,702) payoff disguised as a "bug bounty" reward, according to an email showing a conversation between the criminal and a senior technology executive.
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"You have the advantage of having surprised us", the message reportedly reads.
"It's interesting that they're spinning it as a bug bounty program", said Pablo Garcia, CEO of FFRI North America, based in Aliso Viejo, California.
HBO offered to pay $250,000 to hackers who were threatening to leak episodes of its massively popular drama Game of Thrones. The network said: "In the spirit of professional cooperation, we are asking you to extend your deadline for one week".