After failed attempts to extort Netflix, a hacker looking to make waves in the infosec world finally decided to leak the as-of-yet unaired season five of Orange is the New Black on torrent sites. The move could hurt the American streaming giant’s bottom line, and other entertainment companies are said to be “up next.”
TheDarkOverlord – as the hacker (or group) is called – reportedly got hold of the episodes by breaching Larson Studios, Inc., an audio post-production studio in Hollywood that works with Netflix. The hacker presumably exploited outdated publishing software used by the post-production company, which does business with several major television production companies. Neither Larson nor Netflix were willing to give in to an “arrangement” proposed by TheDarkOverlord.
Seeing how his victims were unwilling to cooperate, on April 29, TheDarkOverlord went ahead with plans to leak the Orange season on The Pirate Bay, bragging about the feat on Twitter and subsequently on Pastebin (excerpts below).
“…. Armed with this information, we naturally approached Netflix and the others in an attempt to devise a mutually-beneficial arrangement where we are paid and Netflix and friends don’t wake up to find their hard work plastered on the internet. Our proposals went unanswered so our hands have been forced. We were quite offended by our targets’ responses (or lack thereof).”
“…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.”
Orange Is the New Black Season 5 is set to air on June 9. In a statement to the media, Netflix said:
“We are aware of the situation. A production vendor used by several major TV studios had its security compromised and the appropriate law enforcement authorities are involved.”
As reported by the Associated Press, Netflix had plans to use the fifth season of Orange to help it add upwards of 3 million subscribers from April through June, a much higher tally than the company’s average gain of 1.8 million in the same period over the past five years. As per the AP, Netflix’s stock usually takes a plunge when its quarterly subscriber base falls short of expectations.
A few reports have led the public to believe Netflix has been hit with a ransomware attack when, in fact, this is a typical case of extortion – a completely different animal. When someone’s files are held for ransom, they are left unable to access their own files, with the hacker holding the decryption keys in exchange for hard cash.
On May 1, TheDarkOverlord took to Twitter again to announce:
It's nearly time to play another round.
— thedarkoverlord (@tdohack3r) May 1, 2017
Who could be next?