Hackers claim to have stolen the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean film. They are demanding that Disney pay a ransom or else have it released in intervals online.
At the present, there doesn’t appear to be any proof yet that the hackers actually have the film. However, this series of events closely mirrors what happened a few weeks ago with Orange is the New Black. A hacker that goes by the name ‘thedarkoverlord’ claimed to have taken the show’s upcoming season. All 10 episodes were released online after Netflix declined to pay the ransom.
The cyber-thieves demanded to be paid online in enormous amounts of Bitcoin – making it harder to trace. They threatened to release 5 minutes of the film, followed by 20-minute segments until the ransom is delivered.
On Twitter, journalists and film writers have speculated it could be Pixar’s Cars 3, which is set to premiere in June. Or, it could be the next Star Wars film, set to release this December.
“If it were Last Jedi, he would pay in a heartbeat. But Pirates… meh,” Ryan Parker, from the Hollywood Reporter, wrote on Twitter.
While the Pirates franchise has been lucrative, with earnings of $3.7 billion since 2003, it’s no comparison to the threat of a leaked Star Wars movie. The Force Awakens alone scored over $2 billion worldwide, with the last Jedi expected to beat its predecessor.
Disney is reportedly refusing to pay the ransom and has begun working with the FBI.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is the franchise’s fifth installment and was set for wide release next Friday.
“The kinds of people who are willing to pay money to see Johnny Depp stumble his way through a fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie in theatres are probably not the type to download a stolen copy of it right before it comes out,” said novelist Paul Tassi in an interview with Forbes magazine.
These latest attacks on the film and TV industry are a part of a string of cybercrimes hitting industries from financial services and telecommunications to the NHS.
Over 200,000 computers in 150 countries were hit by ransomware just last weekend.