Hackers who posted several of HBO’s new episodes and a “Game of Thrones” script online in late July have published a month’s worth of emails from the inbox of one of the entertainment company’s executives. The Hackers also addressed a video letter to HBO CEO Richard Plepler that demands the company demand payment of money, although the figure was redacted, according to the report. The hackers said HBO marked their 17th victim, and only three have failed to pay. HBO said its forensic review of the incident is ongoing and noted that it believed further leaks were forthcoming.
HBO private emails in the hands of hackers, came Monday in an email message to The Hollywood Reporter that also contained nine files with such labels as “Confidential” and “Script GOT7.” The hackers also delivered a video letter to HBO CEO Richard Plepler that says, “We successfully breached into your huge network. … HBO was one of our difficult targets to deal with but we succeeded (it took about 6 months).”
They say that the frequency of the attacks has overwhelmed the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, which has been unable to properly investigate all of them. The FBI’s surprising advice, according to industry sources: Pay the ransom.
FBI spokesperson in the L.A. office denied that the agency is telling companies to cough up the bitcoins in cases of ransomware. “The FBI does not encourage payment of ransom as it keeps the criminals in business,” says Laura Eimiller. “Of course, the individual victim must weigh their options.”
“The FBI will say it’s easier to pay it than it is to try to fight to get it back,” says Hemanshu Nigam, a former federal prosecutor of online crime in L.A. and onetime chief security officer for News Corp. “And if one company pays the ransom, the entire hacking community knows about it.”