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HBO tried to pay off hackers to stop leaks

Both the leak and the cover-up seem like the kind of thing Varys would do (Photo: HBO, Helen Sloan)
Both the leak and the cover-up seem like the kind of thing Varys would do (Photo: HBO, Helen Sloan)

The HBO hack(s) has almost as involved a plot as that of Game Of Thrones, which, incidentally was also caught in the fray. Early reports suggested the online attack was worse than the Sony hack, but the premium-cable network tried to downplay the extent of the data breach, even as the hacker or hackers issued more threats. Then the Unsullied—we mean, the FBI—got involved. Then came that “Spoils Of War” leak, followed by more threats, then some reassurances, and finally, the revelation that these hackers might be overstating their data bounty. The latest development suggests that the hack‘s real and real extensive, as The Daily Beast has just published an email in which an HBO employee uses some cajoling language to offer the hackers $250,000 to lay off already.

The full text is over at The Daily Beast site, which has yet to hear back from HBO about the email it obtained. But it’s clear that the person who wrote it wanted to mollify the hackers, who are never referred to by that term in the message. Instead, there’s talk of “white hats” (someone’s been watching Westworld), “bug bounties,” and, of course, bitcoin, the preferred currency of all hackers. The $250,000 offer is well shy of the $6 million the hackers asked for in the first place, but it doesn’t sound like any of it was ever paid out. We’ll have to wait until the next episode of “The HBO Hack” airs, or is leaked online by the perpetrators.

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