HBO Refuses to Pay Hackers as Leaks Continue

HBO is refusing to negotiate with hackers who have allegedly stolen up to 1.5 terabytes of data from the premium cable network. After releasing unaired episodes of TV series, the hackers have now released episodes of the upcoming season of popular comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm.

The hackers who breached HBO’s servers to leak unreleased scripts and episodes of popular TV shows before demanding a “six-moth salary”, upwards of $6 million in ransom, have continued to carry out their threat of releasing the TV network’s content.

The most recent data dump, released over the weekend, also included episodes of a number of other TV shows, a comedy special and other programming. In recent weeks, at least one Game of Thrones, sensitive personal details and scripts have also been leaked by the hackers.

Last week, it was reported that HBO offered a “bug bounty” payment of $250,000 in an attempt to appease the hackers. However, the TV network has now revealed that it will not pay the extortion sum to the hackers.

“We are not in communication with the hacker and we’re not going to comment every time a new piece of information is released,” HBO confirmed in a statement to Variety.

Notably, it added:

The hacker may continue to drop bits and pieces of stolen information in an attempt to generate mediate attention. That’s a game we’re not going to participate in.

HBO’s predicament follows similar incidents in recent times where Hollywood studios have been the victims of data breaches, oftentimes resulting in the leaks of unreleased TV shows. Netflix was a notable victim, having fallen prey to a hacker group called the ‘Dark Overlord’. An entire unreleased season of the streaming service’s ‘Orange is the New Black’ was released by the hacker group.

HBO, which is wholly owned by Time Warner, is currently seeking advice from US law enforcement, the latter who have repeatedly called on victim enterprises and companies to refuse giving in to extortion demands with a ransom payment. HBO is also working with a cybersecurity investigation firm as a forensic analysis of the breach gets underway.

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