Latest materials leaked include the draft script of a few unaired episodes and contracts of cast members, including Daenerys portrayer herself, Emilia Clarke. The AP write-up claims that the leak holds technical data, scripts for Game of Thrones episodes, and even a month's worth of emails belonging to HBO VP of film programming Leslie Cohen. A video that appears to recreate a letter sent to HBO CEO Richard Plepler claims the hackers managed to steal 1.5TB of data after six months of trying to compromise the network. Specifically, the hackers said HBO should consider the ransom "another budget for [its] advertisements".
It was signed: "Mr Smith".
Much of the rest of the letter recounts the various ways HBO could hypothetically suffer from the full leak, from upsetting fans to informing competitors. "So make a wise decision!"
The letter ends with an image of the "Night King" villain from GoT with his arms raised - the word "standing" in one hand and "falling" in the other. That amounts to several million dollars by the hackers' reckoning, as they claim to bring in $12 million to $15 million annually from similar blackmailing efforts. But until now, they hadn't revealed their motive.
The hackers, who illegally broke into HBO's computer networks, claim to have taken 1.5 terabytes of data, including the fourth episode of season seven, which aired in the US on Sunday, and was released illegally on Friday - days after a script from the newest instalment of the fantasy series was published on the Internet.
The message comes a week after a leak of one script of Games of Thrones and content from other productions. Earlier this year, hackers leaked the entirety of Netflix's new season of Orange Is the New Black more than a month early after the service did not meet their ransom demands. Currently, the seventh season of the show is being telecasted and HBO is already facing its bad days.
Despite their threats, both implied and overt, the hackers claim-a bit nonsensically-that they're "white hats" rather than criminals. "It's a game for us. Money isn't our main goal", their ransom note reads.
"The forensic review is ongoing", HBO said in an emailed statement, noting that it was working with cyber security experts and law enforcement. "We want to be your partner in a tiny part of HBO's huge income".