Hacker holds Netflix to ransom over ‘Orange is the New Black’

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A hacker claims to have released the new series of the hit prison TV show “Orange is the New Black” onto the internet, after Netflix failed to agree to pay an undisclosed ransom.

The hacker has also claimed to have stolen shows belonging to other broadcasters including Fox, National Geographic, and ABC.

We’re back again. Did you miss us? Of course, you did. We’re willing to bet Netflix did as well. Speaking of which, Netflix clearly received our message considering they’ve made public statements and was one of the first people to download a fresh copy of their own property (Hello, [redacted IP address]!) – yet they continue to remain unresponsive. With this information in mind (and the fact that leaving people on cliffhangers isn’t fun) we’ve decided to release Episodes 2-10 of “Orange Is The New Black” Season 5 after many lengthy discussions at the office where alcohol was present. Do note that there are 13 episodes. However, we were so early when we acquired the copies that post hadn’t gotten around to Episodes 11-13. Perhaps Netflix will consider releasing the season earlier now that the cat’s out of the bag?

We’re not quite done yet, though. We’re calling you out: ABC, National Geographic, Fox, IFC, and of course Netflix, still. There’s more Netflix on the feasting menu soon (in addition to the other studios, of course), but we’ll get to that later. Enjoy the fruits of _our_ labour.

The Dark Overlord then shared a link to a downloadable torrent on The Pirate Bay.

It appears that one of the companies assisting with the production or promotion of the TV series may have proved itself to be a little lax in terms of its computer security, opening an opportunity for The Dark Overlord to break into their systems and steal digital copies of the upcoming fifth series.

In a statement issued to the media, Netflix confirmed that it was “aware of the situation”, adding “a production vendor used by several major TV studios had its security compromised and the appropriate law enforcement authorities are involved.”

This isn’t the first that The Dark Overlord (which is potentially the name of a hacking gang rather than the online handle of just one individual) has attempted to extort money out of businesses.

Last November, for instance, The Dark Overlord put glue and adhesive company Gorilla Glue in a sticky situation after claiming to steal 500 GB worth of corporate data, including email archives and intellectual property.

In other extortion attempts, The Dark Overlord has leaked information from hacked investment banks and published millions of healthcare records.

As a general rule, I believe that companies should do everything in their power to protect their customers and prevent criminals from profiting from extortion. But although having a hit TV show leak onto the internet is potentially embarrassing and could have some commercial impact, I find it hard to believe that episodes of “Orange is the New Black” being downloadable from torrent sites in advance of their official release on Netflix is that big a deal.

Most people these days can’t be pfaffed with downloading torrents, when they have become accustomed to the ease and simplicity of streaming a TV show legitimately via services like iTunes, BBC iPlayer or Netflix. And that’s even before you consider the risk that the gigabytes of data you’re downloading from an illegal torrent may not actually contain the TV show episodes you were hunting for, or may even contain something malicious designed to compromise your computer.

The prison inmates in “Orange is the New Black” have to learn to keep their patience until their eventual release. Maybe fans of the TV show should prove their loyalty by waiting for the show’s proper release too.

by Graham Cluley, ESET We Live Security


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