Cybercriminals continue to send their regards to HBO, as their threats have turned into a stark reality. First, they teased stolen scripts and episodes from HBO shows via email, then on their own site named WinterLeak. And now, they’re taking action and making demands, unleashing full “Game of Thrones” scripts and leaking the personal info of the show’s stars. The cherry on top? These crooks still hold more data, and are demanding around $7.5 million in ransom from HBO execs.
These demands came in the form of a five-minute video addressed to the network’s CEO. Set the theme music of “Game of Thrones,” the video claimed that it took the crooks six months to penetrate HBO’s network. Therefore, they’re demanding their “6-month salary” in bitcoin and claimed they usually make $12 million to $15 million a year from blackmail such as this, implying a ransom demand of between $6 million and $7.5 million.
Along with this video, these hackers released 3.4GB of files. The dump contained technical data detailing HBO’s internal network and administrator passwords, draft scripts from five “Game of Thrones” episodes, including this week’s installment, and a month’s worth of emails from HBO’s vice president for film programming, Leslie Cohen. One document that was released appears to contain the confidential cast list for Game of Thrones, listing personal telephone numbers and email addresses for actors such as Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, and Emilia Clarke.
The cybercriminals gave HBO three days to pay the ransom, and if payment isn’t received, there’s potential for the crooks to release more data. Therefore, with this is mind, it’s important HBO employees start changing passwords and account info, as well as securing all personal data they can with security solutions.