According to Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, HBO termed it as “bug bounty payment”, calling it part of a programme where ethical hackers were rewarded for finding technical shortcomings, and bringing them to HBO’s attention. HBO has declined to comment on the matter.
Variety claims it spoke to a source close to the HBO investigation into the hack, who was able to confirm the authenticity of the email. The source added that the non-confrontational wording – as opposed to the outright public statements of non-negotiation policy uttered by other hacked companies – was a “way to stall for time while [HBO] attempted to assess the serious situation”.
HBO hoped that a quarter of a million payment would be enough to prevent any leaks, but as we now know, that wasn’t to be the case. Variety adds that the email is dated July 27, which was a few days before the hackers began to put what they have online.
The hackers’ ransom demand is “six months salary worth in bitcoin”, which given their claim of $12 million (roughly Rs. 76.5 crores) annually, comes to about $6 million (roughly Rs. 38.2 crores).
Image titled “JOH_0732” by star5112, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0