A person familiar with HBO's response to the attack told Reuters that the company sent the email "as a stall tactic" and had never meant to make the US$250,000 payment or pay the full $6 million the hackers had demanded to hold off going public with data stolen from HBO.
The hackers, who go online by the pseudonym of Mr. Smith, have leaked some data in two separate incidents during the last two weekends.
The hackers claim to have 1.5 terabytes of data stolen from HBO.
A person close to the investigation said that the email was a delay tactic and that HBO never intended on cooperating with the hackers.
An HBO representative told Wired that there was no reason to believe the hackers had access to the company's email database.
HBO, which previously acknowledged the theft of "proprietary information", said it's continuing to investigate and is working with police and cybersecurity experts.
The hackers made demands for "six-month salary in bitcoin" stating that they earn as much as between $12 million and $15 million annually from the illegal business of blackmail and cyber attack.
What are your thoughts on the threat to HBO and our beloved Game of Thrones?