Game of Thrones-Maker HBO tries to pay Bitcoin ransom

A group of hackers, under the pseudonym Mr Smith, has, according to media reports, scripts of Game of Thrones, as well as additional data obtained from HBO by a hack. Originally, there was talk of a ransom, now it is called HBO as a so-called “Bounty Program”.

When it comes to Ransomware, or other activities in the Cybercrime scene, the actors like to use digital currencies. In the mainstream this leads to an image damage for Bitcoin and Co., since often no parallels are drawn to other currencies. The fact that comparatively more crime is financed by the US dollar or Euro is not directly apparent to most readers.

It is a surprise to those readers who understand Bitcoin more that the hackers demand Bitcoin as a ransom. It is widely known that bitcoin is not anonymous, since all transactions and addresses can be viewed on the blockchain and evaluation programs can be used to draw conclusions on identities. Although this is not an easy step, with enough data an identity can be found. Especially if the bitcoin address is linked to a name via a stock exchange.

In an email from July 27, an executive from HBO stated that one was working hard on a solution and that a delay of the deadline was requested. In addition, the company decided not to speak of ransom, but of a so-called “bounty program”. The term comes from the IT sector and describes the process by which ethical hackers detect and report weaknesses in the system. This is often used in open source programs and is paid as often.

HBO decided to get $ 250,000 in Bitcoin to buy the 1.5 terabytes of data, which are “hostage” in the hands of the hackers. So far it is not known whether and how much Bitcoin have already been purchased by HBO.

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