HBO offered $250,000 to cyber criminals who hacked into its computer system, asking them to extend a deadline for paying a much larger ransom, according to an email reviewed by Reuters. Fred Katayama reports.
HBO offered hackers $250,000 to extend a deadline to pay a much larger ransom of $6 million, according to an email reviewed by Reuters. Cyber criminals broke into HBO's system and stole scripts, contracts, human resources documents, and budget details. Then they blackmailed HBO saying they would release what they have if they don't get the money. That's when HBO sent an email offering a chunk of it. But hackers went to the media with details on the breach and an upcoming episode of the network's popular drama "Game of Thrones." The hack comes at a sensitive time for HBO. Its parent, Time Warner, is waiting for regulatory approval to sell itself to AT&T in an $85.4 billion deal. Reuters editor Jim Finkle is covering the story: (SOUNDBITE) JIM FINKLE, CYBER SECURITY & TECHNOLOGY REUTERS EDITOR-IN-CHARGE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It's a massive acquisition, so, the question is 'could this have any impact on the deal?' If you look back, Yahoo sold itself or its internet assets to Verizon and Yahoo had a big hack. It was the biggest hack in the history based on the number of records compromised and Verizon was able to save some money and cut the price of the deal." A person familiar with the matter told Reuters that the network sent the email "as a stall tactic" and had never intended to make any payment.