Hackers have posted a fresh cache of stolen HBO files online, including what appear to be draft scripts from five Game Of Thrones episodes, demanding a multi million-dollar ransom to halt the release of entire television series and other sensitive files.
The message from the HBO exec is dated July 27 and mentions a "bug bounty" program probably to appease hackers who have called themselves white hat hackers.
According to Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, HBO termed it as "bug bounty payment", calling it part of a programme where ethical hackers were rewarded for finding technical shortcomings, and bringing them to HBO's attention.
But a source close to the situation told CNBC that this email was merely a "delay tactic" and said HBO is having no communication with the hackers now.
Previously, the hacker had asked for a six-month salary which would be half of the $12-15 million per year that they claim to make. While HBO may have had no intention of paying, it's unusual to see such a huge corporation engaging with a hacker at all.
They've also leaked executive emails, and on Tuesday released the personal phone numbers, email addresses and home addresses of Game of Thrones Season 7 cast members, among them Emilia Clarke (Daenerys), Lena Headey (Cersei), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion) and Kit Harington (Jon Snow).
So far, however, the HBO leaks have been limited, falling well short of the chaos inflicted on Sony in 2014. HBO has declined to comment on the matter. We have weeks of negotiations with HBO officials, but they broke their promises and want to play with us.So we have one option.Wait till Sunday.
Variety reported on Wednesday morning that at least one of the leaked documents seems to have been manipulated by the hackers - to make it look like they accessed the email of HBO CEO Richard Plepler - casting doubt on the severity of the hack and the abilities of "Mr. Smith". So far, we have rarely heard of any big companies acquiescing to ransom demands or even negotiating with hackers at all.