While HBO may have had no intention of paying, it's unusual to see such a huge corporation engaging with a hacker at all.
HBO responded by offering a "bug bounty", a payment normally given to legitimate researchers who discover security vulnerabilities but do not take the files thus obtained as plunder.
The video letter uploaded on Monday claimed the hackers spend a half million dollars a year to purchase "zero-day" exploits that let them break into networks through holes not yet know to Microsoft and other software companies.
The hack was first mentioned a few days ago, after episode 3 of the seventh Game of Thrones season aired.
HBO has offered the hackers threatening to release Games of Thrones episodes and info $250K, and they're calling it a "bounty payment" as they scramble to get the situation under control.More news: Solar eclipse scams: Don't get duped into buying fake glasses
As a show of good faith, HBO offered to make a bug bounty payment. The most recent episode of "Game of Thrones" logged a record 10.2 million live viewers, breaking the show's own record.
While the memo appears to be more of a stalling tactic than a serious offer, HBO really shouldn't be surprised that it got out.
But the negotiations with HBO aren't going well, a new report explains.
The HBO employee has been careful about wording. "In the spirit of professional cooperation, we are asking you to extend your deadline for one week". "It's just about money".
A group that calls itself "Mr Smith" sent a ransom note to Richard Plepler, HBO's chief executive, after releasing a fresh cache of stolen scripts, internal documents and private emails online this week. "We have weeks of negotiations with HBO officials, but they broke their promises and want to play with us...", they said.