HBO hackers get serious with second leak and ransom demands

Eric Abent - Aug 8, 2017, 2:18 pm CDT
HBO hackers get serious with second leak and ransom demands

About a week ago, we caught wind of an HBO data breach where hackers made off with 1.5 terabytes of information. At the time those first details were released, the hackers behind the attack said that more leaked information was coming. Today they made good on that promise, making ransom demands of HBO to halt this trickle release of stolen data.

According to the Associated Press, this latest dump weighs in at a mere 3.4 GB in size, but what’s included has the potential to be quite damaging. The AP write-up claims that the leak holds technical data, scripts for Game of Thrones episodes, and even a month’s worth of emails belonging to HBO VP of film programming Leslie Cohen.

Stuff like that is fairly innocuous though, if not concerning to Cohen himself. What’s more concerning to the company as a whole is the fact that 50 internal, confidential documents were included this leak. Those documents include data like HBO CEO Richard Plepler’s email contact list (with nearly 40,000 entries) and a cast list for Game of Thrones that includes actor phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses.

That last bit is likely what will get HBO to take action on this leak. The hackers are waiting too, sending a ransom video to Plepler that demands “our 6-month salary in Bitcoin.” If that’s a little confusing, you’re not alone there – what seems cryptic at first is explained by the hackers’ claims that they make $12 to $15 million per year by performing security breaches like this and then ransoming the stolen information.

So, HBO would need to give these hackers $6 million to $7.5 million in Bitcoin to prevent them from loosing the rest of the data stolen in this breach. We’ll see what happens from here, but just to be safe, you might want to steer away from any Game of Thrones conversations for the time being, lest some of the more unsavory people we have on the internet spoil upcoming events as a result of this leak.

Must Read Bits & Bytes