Over a week ago, hackers stole 1.5 terabytes of data from HBO. The hackers made public unreleased episodes of “Ballers” and “Room 104” as well as scripts for “Game of Thrones,” which included a watermark with the hackers’ motto, “HBO is falling.” The data dump also included internal documents, some even of sensitive or personal nature. The leak featured emails, financial balance sheets, employment agreements, marketing strategy, a month’s worth of email from the account of HBO’s vice-president for film programming Leslie Cohen, and a list of personal phone numbers and email addresses of “Game of Thrones” actors Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, and Emilia Clark.
On Monday, the hackers, who are only known as “Mr. Smith,” posted a fresh cache of stolen HBO files online, bringing their total to 3.4GB of released data. The hackers are now demanding millions in ransom from HBO and threatening to leak more data if they are not paid. Those behind the cyber attacks posted a video letter addressed to HBO CEO Richard Plepler, where they demanded “our 6 month salary in bitcoin,” which they said is at least $6 million. The hackers claimed they earn $12 million to $15 million a year from blackmailing organizations after they infiltrate their data systems. The video text was written in English, but peppered with misspellings and improper grammar.
“Our demand is clear and Non-Negotiable: We want XXXX dollars to stop leaking your Data,” the hackers stated. “HBO spends 12 million for Market Research and 5 million for GOT7 advertisements. So consider us another budget for your advertisements!” The criminals said they would only deal directly with “Richard” and only send one “letter” providing details on how the network is to pay the ransom. “Leakage will be your worst nightmare,” the note stated. “So make a wise decision!” The hackers gave HBO a deadline of three days to pay the millions of dollars.
Episode 4 of Season 7 of “Game of Thrones” leaked days ahead of its premiere last Sunday night, but that is said to not be from this group of hackers.