Cyber criminals demand HBO millions to stop leaking its material

Pierluigi Paganini August 09, 2017

Cyber gang demands HBO CEO to pay multimillion-dollar ransom to avoid 1.5TB of shows and confidential corporate data being leaked online.

Crooks claiming to have hacked television group HBO networks were demanding millions of dollars in ransom payments from the company while threatening to release more material.

The alleged hackers published a five-minute video letter to HBO chief Richard Plepler claiming to have “obtained valuable information” in a cyber attack. Cyber criminals said they had stolen 1.5 terabytes of data.

The author of the message dubbed himself  “Mr. Smith,” confirmed his group obtained “highly confidential” documents and data, including scripts, contracts, and personnel files.

According to the website, on Monday hackers leaked 10 files including what appears to be another script of the fantasy series “Game of Thrones.”

Along with the video letter, the hackers released 3.4GB of files. The dump contained technical data related to the HBO’s internal network and administrator passwords, and of course the draft scripts from five Game of Thrones episodes. The huge trove of files also includes a month’s worth of emails from HBO’s vice president for film programming, Leslie Cohen.

The hackers claim a long work to compromise the HBO network, it took six months to break into the company systems, they also added to have purchased $500,000 a year zero-day exploits that let them hack the firm exploiting flaws in Microsoft and other software used by HBO.

hbo Games of Thrones

The crooks pretend to receive half of the HBO group’s annual budget of $12 million to $15 million to stop leasing the files.

“We want XXX dollars to stop leaking your data,” “HBO spends 12 million for Market Research and 5 million for GOT7 advertisements. So consider us another budget for your advertisements!”

The video message comes a few days after a leak of one script of “Games of Thrones” and clips from other series.

The hackers claim HBO was his 17th victim and that “only 3 of our past targets refused to pay and were punished very badly and 2 of them collapsed entirely.”

HBO fears that hackers will leak other material and that “the forensic review is ongoing.”

“While it has been reported that a number of emails have been made public, the review to date has not given us a reason to believe that our email system as a whole has been compromised,” the statement from the Time Warner unit said. “We continue to work around the clock with outside cybersecurity firms and law enforcement to resolve the incident.”

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – HBO, data breach)

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