Trump Hating South Americans Hacked HBO

Last week – I read the message “Mr. Smith” reportedly sent to HBO… and it brought up a few questions. And also, it offered some “answers” to questions that I’m often asked. Questions such as “how much money do cyber criminals make?”

Here’s the start of the message.

It took about 6 months

First, let’s examine Mr. Smith and his colleagues’ persistence. How long did it take to infiltrate HBO? According to Mr. Smith, it took ~6 months and they considered it to be “difficult”.

Next, how much money to cyber criminals make? And how busy are they?

we are IT professionals

According to Mr. Smith’s claims…

  • Annual expenses: ~400 to 500 thousand dollars for 0-day exploits.
  • Annual income: ~12 to 15 million dollars.
  • Annual number of targets: often two major operations.
  • Total number of targets: 17.
  • Amount who paid extortion: 14.

But of course, it’s supposedly not all about the money.

Even we hate trump like other Americans do

Near the end of the message, Mr. Smith warns “Don’t go to FBI or other f–––ing IT Idiots. They are so busy or shoe makers!”

Now, I haven’t come across the term “shoe makers” before so I was curious. In what country or countries is that expression commonly used? I mentioned it to Andy and he checked with our language localization team, and they took a look at the entire message.

So what’s their best guess as to where in the world is Mr. Smith?

They suggested Spanish speaking parts of South America based on the punctuation and capitalization. The phraseology and style of communication… maybe Argentina? Also, there’s the Latin American culture insult about shoemakers (aha!) and the inclusive use of “Americans”.

Inclusive use of Americans? I didn’t notice this on my first reading, but the localization team did. See above and should notice Mr. Smith’s “Even we hate trump like other Americans do.”

And there you go, HBO was hacked by Trump hating South Americans.



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