On Monday, the hackers, who allegedly seized 1.5 terabytes of data from the hit-making television network, released even more stolen loot, including script summaries for the next five episodes of Game of Thrones, as well as scripts and entire seasons of other HBO shows.
The hackers also shared a ransom note, in the form of a video, demanding HBO pay millions of dollars or else even more sensitive company data will be posted online. That note was shared as a bizarre video with scrolling text set to the Game of Thrones sound track, which was included in Monday’s dump.
In the video sent to Pleper, obtained by Mashable, the hackers say that they want up to $7.5 million in Bitcoin delivered later this week. “We often launch two major operations in a year and our annual income is about 12–15 million dollars. We are serious enough to do our business,” the hackers’ ransom note to HBO read. “We don’t play with you so, you in return, don’t play with us. You only have 3 days to make a decision so decide wisely.”
HBO is apparently the hackers’ 17th target, and they claim only three have failed to pay up. While it’s still unclear how the hack was carried out, the ransom note does point out that the hackers spend “about 400-500,000 dollars in a year to buy 0days exploits.” That detail hints at the possibility that the hackers purchased an exploit of a software vulnerability online to break into HBO’s system.
HBO now has to decide whether to pay up, try to somehow stop the hackers from leaking, or risk losing even more valuable intellectual property. The main thing HBO is probably worried about is whether the hackers accessed any of the media company’s dirty laundry in its stolen email and documents—that damage is often much, much harder to recover from than a leaked television episode.