In what sounds like the premise for a cable network drama, hackers are holding Hollywood hostage by threatening to leaking shows onto the internet. According to Variety, the hackers posted the first 10 episodes of Netflix's Orange is the New Black to a torrent site — and they claim it's only the beginning. The group, seemingly led by a user that goes by the name thedarkoverlord, says that it has plenty more material from networks such as ABC, Fox, IFC, and National Geographic. And unless those networks are willing to pay up, more material is going to make its way onto the web.
"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, reports Variety. "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."
Money seems to be the main part of this issue. Variety adds that thedarkoverlord, aka TDO, asked for an "undisclosed sum." It seems that Netflix was trying to call the hackers' bluff, but they made good on their threats and 11.46 gigabytes worth of OITNB went online. Netflix had the show's latest season on the calendar for a June release.
How did the hackers procure the goods? It seems to have stemmed from a 2016 cyber attack on Larson Studios, an audio post production facility that handles a lot of material from Hollywood's heavy-hitting networks and shows. Engadget reports that Larson Studios had agreed to pay the hackers, but it reneged on the offer, which may have been the catalyst for the leak.
Netflix released a statement acknowledging the leak, saying in a statement: "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."
TDO doesn't seem too worried, however. He put out a statement of his own threatening to release even more of his cache to the world. It read, "Other companies in the American entertainment industry shouldn't be surprised if they were too [sic] wake up to a verbose, condescending, and abusive letter in their inbox extending a hand of friendship and (most likely) demanding a modest sum of internet money."
There's no word yet from the networks as to what they'll do moving forward, but if this does play out like a drama, expect plenty of frenzied typing, lots of over-the-top yelling from the suits, and maybe a cameo from Rami Malek.