A hacker who goes by the name The Dark Overlord says that they made good on a threat made to Netflix and released 10 episodes from the upcoming fifth season of Orange Is the New Black, the streaming service’s most popular original series.
The hacker made this announcement in an April 29 Twitter post, which included a link to The Pirate Bay, an illegal file-sharing service, where the episodes could allegedly be found.
The Dark Overlord had demanded that Netflix pay a ransom—the amount has not been specified in any currently available stories—in exchange for not releasing the episodes online before the season’s official start on June 9.
“It didn’t have to be this way, Netflix. You’re going to lose a lot more money in all of this than what our modest offer was,” the hacker wrote. “We’re quite ashamed to breathe the same air as you. We figured a pragmatic business such as yourselves would see and understand the benefits of cooperating with a reasonable and merciful entity like ourselves.”
The hacker could have a point about the loss of money. Pirated copies of Orange Is the New Black could put a big dent in Netflix’s new subscription numbers. It was hoping to add 3.2 million subscribers from April through June. And when Netflix’s quarterly subscriber gains fall short of projections, the company’s stock generally tanks.
In an April 28 statement, 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.”
The Dark Overlord also said they have other shows from Netflix as well as unreleased shows from ABC, Fox, National Geographic, and IFC. The content was stolen from post-production studio Larson Studios in late 2016.
According to the Associated Press, Larson Studios has described the cyber attack and resulting theft of the networks’ intellectual property as an “active situation” that is being investigated by the FBI and other authorities.
The hacker concluded their statement with a threat to the other networks whose TV shows were allegedly stolen: “And to the others: there’s still time to save yourselves. Our offer(s) are still on the table—for now.”
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