'Game Of Thrones' Leak May Have Been A Serious Bluff By HBO Hackers

by Anna Menta

News broke that HBO hackers had their hands on juicy Game of Thrones content over two weeks ago, but new evidence suggests the hack might not be as serious as once believed. Last week, hackers reportedly requested a ransom payment of around $6 million in exchange for the Game of Thrones leak and other episode leaks of popular HBO shows. HBO responded to the hacker's request with its own, much lower offer of $250,000 as "bounty payment," asking the hackers to extend the ransom payment deadline, according to messages obtained by Variety.

According to the report from Variety, the offer HBO sent to hackers was intended to stall for time while the company assessed the seriousness of the hack. The message reportedly read, "You have the advantage of having surprised us. In the spirit of professional cooperation, we are asking you to extend your deadline for one week."

So far, few leaks from Game of Thrones Season 7 have actually surfaced on the internet. Though Season 7, Episode 4, "The Spoils of War," was released online a few days before the premiere, that leak was apparently unrelated to the HBO hack. No other episodes have surfaced yet, unlike the case in the Orange is the New Black hack, when all the entire season was posted online months before the premiere date. An industry insider spoke to Deadline, saying that this delay could mean the hackers don't actually have much Game of Thrones content to release.

The insider said,

If they had something they would have put it out there by now like what happened with Netflix. Either they didn't get far, there wasn't a lot to get or what they got is in too many pieces to add up to much.

New evidence also suggests that the latest dump from the hack — HBO executive emails —  may have been faked documents, forged to look as though the hackers had access to HBO chairman/CEO Richard Plepler's email account. With only three episodes left in the season, the hackers are definitely on a ticking clock if they actually do have some shocking Game of Thrones content to reveal.