The hackers who claim to have breached HBO’s network want a bunch of Bitcoin in exchange for their silence. A video that appears to recreate a letter sent to HBO CEO Richard Plepler claims the hackers managed to steal 1.5TB of data after six months of trying to compromise the network. The video also outlines the hackers’ demands and includes a list of the information the hackers purportedly stole as a result of the attack.
Perhaps most troubling for HBO is the potential of having scripts and recordings from upcoming shows leaked. The hackers claim to have full scripts, films, and series for “Game of Thrones,” “Insecure,” “Ballers,” and other HBO productions, and they said in the video that they “will be broadcast in upcoming months” with an “HBO Is Falling” logo edited in. (They also apologized for the “amateur mixing” in the videos.)
Here’s the other data the hackers claim to have stolen, as listed in the video:
HBO’s Various Contracts, Mutual Agreements, Human resources, internal structure, International affiliates, Business strategies, international Marketing, IT infrastructures, producing films & Series (with very detail info!), budget detail for major operations, how you sell and how much! various strategic insights in every aspects, confidential research, internal letters & Tax Evading Proofs! & Nielsen’s Dirty Job! & etc.
Yet the hackers claim that they have HBO’s best interests at heart. They don’t have any political goals, they said, and “money isn’t [their] main purpose.” That didn’t stop them from demanding a ransom, however, because they “want to be your partner in a tiny part of HBO’s huge income.” Specifically, the hackers said HBO should consider the ransom “another budget for [its] advertisements.”
So how much do the hackers want? Well, in the video they claim that they conduct two major operations in a year with a resulting annual income between $12 million and $15 million. They want HBO to pay half that amount (so roughly $6 million to $7.5 million) in Bitcoin. In exchange, the scripts, video files, and other data won’t be published, and HBO series like “Game of Thrones” can unfold without being spoiled for their fans.
The full video was made available to the public by Mashable, which also obtained “a portion” of the documents leaked alongside the ransom demand. The Guardian reported that the hackers released “a spreadsheet of legal claims against the TV network, job offer letters to several top executives, slides discussing future technology plans, and a list of 37,977 emails” dubbed “Richard’s Contact List” with this new video.
The hackers also revealed the cast list for “Game of Thrones,” which includes the actors’ telephone numbers and email addresses. That means the hack doesn’t just threaten HBO’s finances; it also endangers the privacy of the network’s talent. The accounts associated with that information can be compromised, for example, which could lead to the publication or ransom (or both) of the actors’ personal information.