Game of Thrones Hackers Demand $7.5M in Bitcoin From HBO – or Spoiler Alert Galore

Just recently a group of hackers made off with 1.5TB of data from servers owned by the cable television network HBO. The thieves managed to leak a few unaired episodes of the network’s original shows and a Game of Thrones script from this Sunday’s new episode. According to reports, the hackers want a total of $7.5M in bitcoin for the cache of data or else they will slowly release a hoard of HBO’s unreleased shows.

Also read: Markets Update: Bitcoin Rallies While Traditional Assets Tumble Worldwide

HBO Looks to Acquire $250,000 Worth of Bitcoin to Pay Off Extortionists

Game of Thrones Hackers Demand $7.5M in Bitcoin From HBO
This Sunday’s unaired Game of Thrones episode script was leaked by Mr. Smith.

This past week HBO was compromised for over 1.5TB of internal data that hosted unaired shows, documentaries, in-house movies, scripts, high-profile emails and contacts, and broadcast pilots. The hackers who stole the information from HBO say they earn 15 million a year, and want half of their salaries paid for the stolen data. According to reports, the group calls themselves, “Mr. Smith,” and they make a living extorting companies by stealing valuable intellectual property.

HBO and Mr. Smith have been in contact with each other through a series of emails according to an IT employee who works for the cable network. The employee says HBO has been in communications with Mr. Smith since July 23 and have asked the malicious hackers to delay the ransom deadline. In an email to the Hollywood Reporter the company says that it has made an offer to Mr. Smith in order to try and keep the negotiations going, stating;

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 ‘Bug Bounty’ Payment May be a Delay Tactic

HBO Might Pay $250,000 USD Worth of Bitcoin to Hackers
Richard Plepler, CEO of the HBO cable television network.

A source close to the matter says this doesn’t mean HBO will be willing to pay the entire ransom and called the move a “delay tactic.” The company also carefully chose to use the phrase “bug bounty” in their communications instead of saying “ransom.” At the moment, the source explains that HBO hasn’t been in contact with hackers and the deal may have fallen through.

In the video-message sent to Richard Plepler the cable company’s CEO, the hackers sent a message with white text and a black background demanding the company pay their salary in bitcoin soon. Reports reveal the data stolen also contains Plepler’s email list with over 40,000 contacts which include the phone numbers, emails, and living addresses of the entire Game of Thrones cast.

What do you think about HBO dealing with the hacker extortionists? Do you think they will end up paying $250,000 in bitcoin to Mr. Smith? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Pixabay, HBO, Variety, and the Game of Thrones. 

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  • Vee Eight

    Hate to defend a greedy cable TV company, but I’m guessing most of their ‘profit’ was supposed to be paid to the IRS, they may well decide they’re financially better off taking the higher insurance premiums on the chin rather than paying even half the amount asked for.

    Knowing these greedy thieves, they’ve probably already received a rebate from the IRS, an insurance payout and are hoping to still profit from some of the hijacked media, I’m no expert but my 0.0104BTC didn’t take long to obtain. HBO probably bought theirs at the same time I bought mine and seeing theirs is now worth well over $300,000 now decided it’s going to ‘take a little while’…

  • squiders Marine

    From all the hacking that has been done in the world… this is by far the worst. If I hear what happens in the end of GoT I’ll go mad!!!! MAD!!! Unless Khalisi gets naked again… I’d like to hear about that if it’s coming up.

  • Storm Chaser

    Never seen an episode of that “so famous” show, who cares?

    • William Wanklyn

      I have seen some of the early episodes and found the show gross and disgusting, pushing the boundaries of legal pornography and bad taste.

      • Bhavesh Chhag


    • mark

      From now on, articles will only be posted if they are entirely of your interest.

  • Kurt Attard

    Bitcoin, the coin of the extortionist. Do not like where this virtual currency is headed. Seems to me the only reason it exists is to facilitate wrong intent. Recently saw a video where the blockchain was described as the ”Trust Age”, I prefer calling it the ”Fear Age”

    • William Wanklyn

      Should have been described as the “Trustless Age”. The whole point is that we no longer have to have a trusted third party intermediate our transactions.

    • Robert Campbell

      This is a good thing, and please don’t worry about HBO. They should pay the amount and move on.

    • Missourimedic

      Do you think that traditional paper cash has never been used for illicit purposes?

      If BitCoin is the currency of the cyber-extortionist, then paper cash is the currency of the crack dealer, meth manufacturer, pimps and prostitutes, kidnappers, bookies, strippers, bank robbers, drug cartels, and a hundred other criminals or low-lifes.

      It’s unfair to judge BitCoin just because some hacker uses it.

    • Lou B Johnson

      Don’t use USD then. It is used more than any other currency for illegal and immoral purposes.

    • Ondrej Lanik

      BTC is the worst currency to ask for this purpose as its trackable. The same applies for the WhyCry hackers…
      If they would ask DASH/ Zcash instead, they coulnt be tracked.

  • William Wanklyn

    I am not a fan of intellectual property, nor of the Hollywood propaganda mafia. They have pushed copyright out to ridiculous time spans through lobbying congress (lets call it bribery). They do not have my sympathy and deserve what they get.

    • Peter Sørensen

      I hope you one day makes something interesting, then I’ll gladly steal it and release it for free if you doesn’t pay me!

      There are many things I hate about Hollywood, but that doesn’t make it okay to steal, you idiot!

      • William Wanklyn

        In view of the manipulation of the law by the Hollywood crowd, their claim to this “property” which is stolen is entirely questionable.

  • Andre Khrisna

    Seems like I need to start learn to hack too 😛 LOL

  • Micheal Harth

    I sell bitcoin at the cheapest rate, contact me

  • Omotade Mishael

    Why call it a bug bounty? That’s shady. A crime is a crime, not a security awareness.