Hackers are claiming to have stolen the next “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie and are demanding a ransom from the Walt Disney Co., according to published reports. If true, it would be the latest incident in the increasing number of extortion attempts in Hollywood.
Disney declined to comment.
According to industry publication Deadline.com, the hackers are demanding “an enormous amount of money to be paid in Bitcoin.” The movie, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” is scheduled to be released on May 26.
The hackers have threatened to release the first five minutes of the film and subsequently in 20-minute chunks until the ransom is paid, The Hollywood Reporter says.
The reports come days after a global ransomware cyberattack disabled computers in as many as 74 countries and the hackers demanded ransoms for reopening access.
TV and film studios are increasingly being targeted by hackers, unnerving an industry that is already dealing with rampant piracy problems worldwide. “At least a half-dozen extortion attempts” against Hollywood firms have occurred in the last six months, according to a report last week by The Hollywood Reporter, citing unnamed sources.
Ten episodes of the upcoming season of “Orange Is the New Black,” produced by Netflix, were posted recently on a file-sharing site ahead of its release on June 9. The hacker, self-titled “thedarkoverlord,” revealed the hack via Twitter, including a link where the episodes purportedly could be downloaded.
In 2004, hackers attacked Sony Pictures and released executives’ embarrassing emails as the studio was preparing to release comedy “The Interview,” which involves a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. A hacker group claimed responsibility, but there was rampant speculation that North Korea was involved.
Roger Yu, USA TODAY