Hackers who recently claimed to have stolen 1.5 Terabytes of data from HBO servers are now demanding $6 million in ransom. This data includes the upcoming episodes of the popular TV show Game of Thrones Season 7.
Hackers have leaked Game of Thrones scripts for five episodes, four of which have already been aired, and a lot of other information including internal documents with administrative passwords like legal information, employment agreements and the contact information of the actors starring in the TV series.
An HBO spokesperson has said, “HBO believed that further leaks might emerge from this cyber incident when we confirmed it last week. As we said, the forensic review is ongoing. While it has been reported that a number of emails have been made public, the review to date has not given us a reason to believe that our email system as a whole has been compromised.”
All of the leaked data is watermarked with “HBO is falling” as revealed in the video attached to the ransom note sent to the HBO CEO Richard Plepler. The hackers claim they spent 6 months to breach into the servers and HBO was not the only target. Data was stolen from 16 other organizations, and only three of them had refused to pay.
The note addressed to HBO CEO read, “Our demand in clear and Non-Negotiable: We want XXXX dollars to stop leaking your Data.” The note added, “HBO spends 12 million for Market Research and 5 million for GOT7 advertisements. So consider us another budget for your advertisements!” The letter signed “Mr. Smith” gave a timeline of 3 days to pay the digital payment or the data will be leaked.
The fourth episode of Games of Thrones was leaked days before it was due to air but that leak came from an HBO employee and not the reported hackers.
HBO is investigating the incident as they refuse to lose any of their information so easily. A spokesperson for the company said, “We continue to work around the clock with outside cybersecurity firms and law enforcement to resolve the incident. Meanwhile, our dedicated employees continue to focus on delivering the high quality of entertainment and service for which we are known.”