Hackers threaten fifth Pirates of the Caribbean film release

Disney film studios has been hacked with some of its latest unreleased films swiped by cyber criminals. The hackershave their eye on financial gains, as you might expect, and have thus threatened to release films across the internet unless a ransom is paid.

Disney CEO, Bob Iger, told employees and reporters about the hack and subsequent threats yesterday. Iger didn’t mention any particular film title but Deadline reports that it is the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean film, Dead Men Tell No Tales. The official USA and UK cinema premiere release date for the film is set for 26th May.

Apparently the hackers told Disney that the film they had purloined would be released around the internet in handy 20 minute chunks unless/until it was paid off. Bitcoin was the currency of choice. Iger signalled that Disney isn’t going to pay up.

The above incident is similar to the recent Netflix Orange is the New Black fifth season hack. In that case Netflix wouldn’t pay any ransom to hacker ‘thedarkoverlord’ and episodes did indeed start to leak onto various film and TV streaming and online sharing platforms.

In an email to HEXUS about the Disney hack, Mark James, security specialist at ESET said “Disney has refused to pay the ransom and rightly so. If you’re going to download the film from an unofficial or dodgy source anyway then a month before or a month after is not going to make much of a difference. The film industry has been plagued with piracy issues as early as the 1960’s and this isn’t going to change anytime soon.” James added the important principles behind not paying ransoms were; to avoid funding criminal activity, and to discourage similar future attacks.

In related hacking news, the WannaCry ransomware cyber-attack which affected the NHS, and plenty of other organisations worldwide ahead of the weekend, is thought to have a link to North Korea. The BBC reports that there are tenuous signs it was the work of the Lazarus Group, a North Korea backed group working from China. Interestingly from the 200,000 malware infected machines the hackers only collected around $60,000 (£46,500) in ransom payments.