HBO Cyber Security News: Hackers Demand Millions-Worth of Bitcoin Ransom After Dumping Executives' Emails, 'GoT' Script; HBO Asked for Extension?

Macall B. Polay/Courtesy HBO via REUTERSA scene from "Game of Thrones" season 7.

Hackers who broke into HBO's cyber security system are not backing down. Their recent move involved dumping private executive emails and a script from a "Game of Thrones" season 7 episode. They are now reportedly asking for millions-worth of Bitcoin ransom to stop plaguing the entertainment company.

The past few days, the hacker group, whose speaker was referred to as Mr. Smith, released another set of emails that were sent and received by HBO's vice president for film programming, Leslie Cohen. This was their second data dump which also included several episode scripts of the current season of "Game of Thrones," according to the Associated Press.

Ironically, the recent data dump happened shortly after HBO claimed that their email system had not been compromised yet.

According to WIRED, the second data dump included a ransom note that claimed Mr. Smith was in possession of 1.5-terabyte worth of internal documents, employment and marketing papers, scripts, and episodes that bears the message: "HBO is falling."

WIRED added that the hackers released a video containing a scrolling message with the famous "Game of Thrones" musical scoring in the background. The hackers claimed a different version was privately sent to HBO CEO Richard Plepler.

In the published version of the ransom message, the hackers redacted the amount of money they demanded. But according to the same AP report, Mr. Smith asked HBO to pay them an amount that supposedly corresponded to the six months of work they spent in creeping into the HBO network. The hackers implied their 6-month work was worth at least $6 million.

Meanwhile, according to The Hollywood Reporter, in an email that was leaked by the hackers and dated July 27, HBO reportedly offered the group $250,000 as "bug bounty payment" and asked for more time. The network said: "In the spirit of professional cooperation, we are asking you to extend your deadline for one week. ... As a show of good faith on our side, 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 group of hackers started their threats a few weeks ago by telling online publications that they had managed to breach HBO's system, thus giving them access to the network's unreleased shows. Unsurprisingly, their targets included one of HBO's biggest shows ever — "Game of Thrones." Several episodes of various HBO shows were leaked in the first data dump.