HBO has reportedly offered to pay hackers who claim to have hacked its email system and obtained data from its network, reported Variety.
An HBO executive allegedly offered to pay the attackers a $250,000 “bug bounty” as part of its programme for “white hat IT professionals”.
According to Hollywood Reporter, the $250,000 would be a show of good faith for extending the group’s initial deadline for a ransom payment.
“We are willing to commit to making a bug bounty payment of $250,000 to you as soon as we can establish the necessary account and acquire Bitcoin,” the HBO executive’s email reportedly stated.
“We have not been able to put into place the necessary infrastructure to make a large payment in Bitcoin, although we are taking steps to do so as you suggested.”
Variety cited sources as saying that the e-mail was worded in this way to stall for time while it tries to assess the situation.
The hackers who hit HBO’s network also created the website Winter-leak.com, where they posted episode outlines and a script for Game of Thrones episodes that hadn’t aired.
They said the HBO Internal Network, emails, technical platforms, and database were penetrated, with “confidential stuff that blaze your eyes” obtained.
The website has been offline since at least 8 August.
The hack follows attacks on Netflix, where a hacker demanded a ransom in exchange for not leaking episodes of Orange is the New Black.
When Netflix refused to pay, the hacker posted a torrent for the episodes to The Pirate Bay.
The same group leaked eight episodes of ABC’s Steve Harvey’s Funderdome when ABC also refused to pay a ransom.