Wednesday, 09 August 2017 08:36

HBO hackers threaten to leak more files unless ransom paid Featured

By

A week after news of a leak of material from the cable network HBO broke, the people allegedly behind it have contacted the network demanding money and threatening to release more material which they pilfered.

Reports from the Associated Press and Wired on Monday said more files were posted online, including one video which used scrolling text addressed to HBO chief executive Richard Plepler asking for "our six-month salary in Bitcoin"  within three days.

The hackers claimed they earned between US$12 million and US$15 million annually by using similar threats and said they would only deal directly with "Richard". 

When news of the infiltration broke, it was said that upcoming episodes of some series and at least one script or treatment — reportedly from the forthcoming fourth episode of the new season of Game of Thrones — had been exposed on the Web.

The reports said that the new dump was about 3.4GB and included what appeared to be draft scripts from the give episodes of Game of Thrones, including one episode that has not yet been screened, and emails from the account of HBO vice-president for film programming, Leslie Cohen.

Details of HBO's network topography and passwords for the company's network administrators were also in the dump.

The hackers claimed they had needed about six months to penetrate the HBO network and that they were paying about US$500,000 annually to buy zero-day exploits for software from Microsoft and other companies.

There were many internal documents labelled confidential in the new dump, one being a list of legal claims against HBO.

There were also job offers to a number of senior executives, slides about future technology plans and a list of 37,977 emails called “Richard’s Contact list”, an apparent reference to Plepler.

The video addressed to Plepler claimed that HBO was the 17th target so far and only three had failed to pay up. The hackers claimed they were white hats, saying: "It's a game for us. Money isn’t our main purpose. We don’t want to endanger HBO’s situation nor cause it to lose its reputation. We want to be your partner in a tiny part of HBO’s huge income."

HBO spokesman Jeff Cusson was quoted as saying that the company had expected something like this and that its "forensic review is ongoing".

"We continue to work around the clock with outside cyber security firms and law enforcement to resolve the incident," he added.

Commenting on the incident, Christopher Petersen, chief technology officer at security intelligence company LogRhythm, told iTWire: “The HBO hack may usher in a new era of cyber extortion. If HBO ponies up the ransom, it could embolden other cyber criminals to pursue similar avenues of attack and monetisation.

"There is a reason the US has a stated policy of not negotiating with terrorists. What HBO does in response to these latest demands could set a precedent with enormous global consequence for businesses having intellectual property as their lifeblood."

Last December, hackers broke into a computer running Windows 7 at Larson Studies and stole season five of Orange is the New Black.


Please join our community here and become a VIP.

Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here
JOIN our iTWireTV our YouTube Community here
BACK TO LATEST NEWS here

PROMOTE YOUR WEBINAR ON ITWIRE

It's all about Webinars.

Marketing budgets are now focused on Webinars combined with Lead Generation.

If you wish to promote a Webinar we recommend at least a 3 to 4 week campaign prior to your event.

The iTWire campaign will include extensive adverts on our News Site itwire.com and prominent Newsletter promotion https://itwire.com/itwire-update.html and Promotional News & Editorial. Plus a video interview of the key speaker on iTWire TV https://www.youtube.com/c/iTWireTV/videos which will be used in Promotional Posts on the iTWire Home Page.

Now we are coming out of Lockdown iTWire will be focussed to assisting with your webinatrs and campaigns and assassistance via part payments and extended terms, a Webinar Business Booster Pack and other supportive programs. We can also create your adverts and written content plus coordinate your video interview.

We look forward to discussing your campaign goals with you. Please click the button below.

MORE INFO HERE!

INTRODUCING ITWIRE TV

iTWire TV offers a unique value to the Tech Sector by providing a range of video interviews, news, views and reviews, and also provides the opportunity for vendors to promote your company and your marketing messages.

We work with you to develop the message and conduct the interview or product review in a safe and collaborative way. Unlike other Tech YouTube channels, we create a story around your message and post that on the homepage of ITWire, linking to your message.

In addition, your interview post message can be displayed in up to 7 different post displays on our the iTWire.com site to drive traffic and readers to your video content and downloads. This can be a significant Lead Generation opportunity for your business.

We also provide 3 videos in one recording/sitting if you require so that you have a series of videos to promote to your customers. Your sales team can add your emails to sales collateral and to the footer of their sales and marketing emails.

See the latest in Tech News, Views, Interviews, Reviews, Product Promos and Events. Plus funny videos from our readers and customers.

SEE WHAT'S ON ITWIRE TV NOW!

BACK TO HOME PAGE
Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous

WEBINARS ONLINE & ON-DEMAND

GUEST ARTICLES

VENDOR NEWS

Guest Opinion

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News

Comments