"Hackers released an email from HBO in which the company expressed willingness to pay them $250,000 as part of a negotiation over electronic data swiped from HBO's servers", the AP reports.
The unnamed HBO exec told hackers that the company has "been working hard since [July 23] to review all of the material that you have made available to us".
Several outlets, including Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and The Guardian, reported they saw a screenshot of a July 27 email sent by HBO to the group offering a $250,000 bug bounty. HBO is not negotiating with the hackers, and the email was merely an attempt to buy some time, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday citing "a person familiar with the matter".
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So far, the hackers have released multiple episodes of HBO shows including Game of Thrones, Ballers and Room 104, along with scripts of already-aired and upcoming episodes.
The quarter-million offer is peanuts compared to the hackers' original demand: their "six-month salary in Bitcoin", which equals approximately $6 million.
Variety says the email may have been a stalling tactic, as the email was sent in late July before HBO had fully assessed the extent of the hack. Leakers gonna leak. Just... please no Game of Thrones spoilers before Sunday night? All documents that have been leaked bear a watermark with the message "HBO is Falling".
HBO declined to comment when contacted by CNBC. HBO also requested the hackers to extend a ransom payment deadline by one week. While $250,000 in bitcoin is a lot of money to most people, it isn't almost the amount the hacker originally demanded.