The hackers gave HBO three days to respond. Hackers who claim to have a trove of information from HBO have threatened to continue to leak episodes of the network’s shows and other sensitive information unless they are paid a large ransom.
The anonymous group demanded HBO pay millions of dollars in bitcoin to stop it from posting the information publicly.
The threat was posted alongside a 3.4 GB cache of other data the group says it stole from HBO. The cache contains:
- A draft script of an upcoming “Game of Thrones” episode.
- One month’s worth of emails from the inbox of an HBO executive.
- A screenshot of folders with labels like “Budgets,” “Legal,” and “Licensing & Retail.”
- Documents containing the personal phone numbers and email addresses of “Game of Thrones” cast members, including Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, and Lena Headey.
- The demands came in the form of a five-minute video addressed to the network’s CEO, Richard Plepler, from a “Mr. Smith.” The video was set to the “Game of Thrones” theme music.
According to the AP, the video text was in English “peppered with misspellings and pop-culture references.”
The hackers said it took them six months to penetrate HBO’s network. They demanded their “6-month salary in bitcoin” and claimed they usually made $12 million to $15 million a year from blackmail such as this, implying a ransom demand of between $6 million and $7.5 million.
The hackers gave HBO three days to pay, although their letter was not dated.
On July 31, the group claimed to have stolen a total of 1.5 terabytes, or 1,500 GB, of data from the network.
The hackers’ website, Winter-Leak.com, appears to be down. It is not immediately clear why.
An HBO representative confirmed that the company was conducting a “forensic review” and that it did not believe its “email system as a whole has been compromised.”
The FBI and the cyber-security firm Mandiant, which investigated the 2014 Sony hack, is working with HBO to get to the bottom of the issue.