A person familiar with HBO's response to the attack told Reuters that the company sent the email "as a stall tactic" and had never meant to make the $250,000 payment or pay the full $6 million the hackers had demanded to hold off going public with data stolen from HBO.
Ironically, the recent data dump happened shortly after HBO claimed that their email system had not been compromised yet. However, the email to THR is from the same account going by "Mr. Smith" that has sent previous messages and proof of stolen content. THR has confirmed that the executive works for HBO in a technology capacity.
The hacker behind the cyberattack against United States television network Home Box Office (HBO) was allegedly offered a $250,000 (£192,827, €212,702) payoff disguised as a "bug bounty" reward, according to an email showing a conversation between the criminal and a senior technology executive.
The report by Variety on Thursday said HBO offered the payment as a "bug bounty", which is offered by companies to discover vulnerabilities in their computer networks.
Macall B. Polay/Courtesy HBO via REUTERSA scene from "Game of Thrones" season 7.
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The hackers demanded "six month salary", which, according to the video, would be more than $6 million.
"You have the advantage of having surprised us", Beyler wrote. A few days after HBO sent the note, the hackers went to the media with details of the breach.
"It's interesting that they're spinning it as a bug bounty program", said Pablo Garcia, CEO of FFRI North America, based in Aliso Viejo, California.
The hack suffered by HBO has been in the headlines for the last couple of weeks, not least because it led to the leak of episodes and scripts. "In the spirit of professional cooperation, we are asking you to extend your deadline for one week".
Beyler's email to the hackers said the company was working "very hard" to review all the material they provided, and also trying to figure out a way to make a large transaction in bitcoin, the hackers' preferred payment method.