NEW YORK — A group of hackers posted a fresh cache of stolen HBO files online Monday, and demanded a multimillion-dollar ransom from the network to prevent the release of entire television series and other sensitive proprietary files.
HBO, which had previously acknowledged the theft of “proprietary information,” said it’s continuing to investigate and is working with police and cybersecurity experts.
In a swaggering five-minute video from “Mr. Smith” to HBO CEO Richard Plepler included in the dump, the hackers used white text scrolling on a black background to deliver an ultimatum. In short: Pay up within three days or see the group, which claims to have stolen 1.5 terabytes of HBO shows and confidential corporate data, upload entire series and sensitive proprietary files.
Specifically, the hackers demanded “our 6-month salary in bitcoin,” and claimed they earn $12 million to $15 million a year from blackmailing organizations whose networks they have penetrated. They said they would only deal directly with “Richard” and only send one “letter” detailing how to pay.
The dump itself was just 3.4 gigabytes — mostly technical data that appears to provide a topography of HBO’s network and to list network-administrator passwords. It includes what appear to be draft scripts from five “Game of Thrones” episodes, including one upcoming episode, and a month’s worth of email apparently from the account of Leslie Cohen, HBO’s vice president for film programming.
The network reiterated Monday that it doesn’t believe that its email system as a whole has been compromised.
The video text was written in often flawed but fluent English peppered…
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