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Netflix Hackers Leak Orange Is the New Black

Ray Walsh

Ray Walsh

May 3, 2017

A group of hackers that had been threatening to leak episodes of the forthcoming season five of Orange Is the New Black has gone through with its threats. The hackers leaked the previously unreleased episodes of the much-loved show to the internet at the weekend. This followed Netflix’s failure to acknowledge the hackers’ threats. The hackers, who use the handle The Dark Overlord, claim they stole the many gigabytes of footage from a Hollywood distributor.

The leaked content is available in several places online, including torrent sites gomovies.to and the Pirate Bay. Of course, the show is copyright protected and is the intellectual property of Netflix. For that reason, watching the new episodes is technically piracy.

In many countries (including the UK, the US, and France), Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are issuing warning letters to those who torrent pirated content. For that reason, anybody tempted to enjoy the leaked episodes (while they are circulating online for free) is strongly advised to do so with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN service provides its subscribers with encryption. This means that everything a VPN user does online is private. This allows VPN users to access any websites they want, with the security of knowing that no one is watching what they do online.

Massive leak

The Dark Overload leaked the episodes of Orange Is the New Black (ONITB) to the internet just before 06:00 ET on Saturday. The ten episodes are believed to be 11.46 gigabytes in size. The Dark Overlord actually released the very first episode of OITNB the day before (on the Pirate Bay). In all likelihood, it was a last gasp effort to show Netflix just how serious they were about the ransom money.

Netflix had been planning to release the new season of OITNB on 9 June. Now that the vast majority of season five is circulating around piracy sites, it is possible that Netflix will push the release date up (though this is unconfirmed). This is what Netflix had to say about the leak:

“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.”

Future Targets

The Dark Overlord has promised on Twitter that it isn’t only Netflix that is going to suffer at his hands. In a tweet following the leak, the hacker said that other networks would be affected next:

Who is next on the list? FOX, IFC, NAT GEO, and ABC. Oh, what fun we’re all going to have. We’re not playing any games anymore.”

Nothing New

This isn’t the first time that hackers have leaked shows or films to the internet. Hackers are mainly financially motivated, which is why we’ve seen a massive rise in the use of ransomware in recent years.

In November 2014, hacking collective The Guardians of Peace famously leaked Sony’s film The Interview to the web. The media reported them to be disgruntled North Korean hackers working for Kim Jong-un (no doubt part of the dictator’s official cyber warfare unit, Bureau 121).

For the Greater Good (and My Wallet)

Unlike that politically motivated leak, The Dark Overlord hackers appear to mainly care about lining their pockets. Blackmailing content producers has become a popular method of extorting money. Many people – hackers included – feel that copyright holders are greedy and charge way too much to watch their content.

In addition, licensing agreements mean that content costs different amounts in different locations. At times, some content isn’t available in certain places at all, because no licensing agreement is in place. For fans of shows that don’t get a deal where they live, this can be infuriating. It directly contributes to piracy.

Hackers, who are often self-proclaimed vigilantes working for “the people,” feel that content producers are the perfect fall guy. The belief is that they deserve for hackers to blackmail them because of their greed. However, despite what appears to be a “soft” target on this occasion, don’t be fooled – The Dark Overlord is not a friend of the common man.

In January, the same hackers were linked to an attack on a cancer charity in Muncie, Indiana. On that occasion, they demanded $43,000 worth of bitcoins from Little Red Door Cancer Services of East Central Indiana. The charity refused to pay. Interestingly, the hackers didn’t use ransomware to carry out that foul attack. Instead, they stole the contents of the charity’s servers (but not the backup) and promised not to release the data to the public if the charity paid up.

Shameless

Despite upgrading to slightly more tasteful targets, it is pretty obvious from the message the hackers left when they leaked the episodes that financial reward is the primary aim:

“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.

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.”

Which Shows Are the Hackers Threatening to Release?

The hackers claim that they have more shows up their sleeves. The veracity of that claim is completely unconfirmed for the time being. This is the video content that The Dark Overlord hackers claim (via DataBreaches.net) that they may leak in the future:

A Midsummers Nightmare – TV Movie

Above Suspicion – Film

Bill Nye Saves The World – TV Series

Breakthrough – TV Series

Brockmire – TV Series

Bunkd – TV Series

Celebrity Apprentice (The Apprentice) – TV Series

Food Fact or Fiction – TV Series

Handsome – Film

Hopefuls – TV Series

Hum – Short

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – TV Series

Jason Alexander Project – TV Series

Liza Koshy Special – YoutubeRed

Lucha Underground – TV Series

Lucky Roll – TV Series

Making History – TV Series

Man Seeking Woman – TV Series

Max and Shred – TV Series

Mega Park – TV Series

NCIS Los Angeles – TV Series

New Girl – TV Series

That is quite the mega-list of possible future blackmailing attempts.

That said, some of the shows (such as Netflix’s new season of Bill Nye Saves the World) have already aired. Others are being aired at the moment. That would appear to minimize the destructive capabilities of future possible leaks.

However, the OITNB episodes (which were stolen from a small distributor) demonstrate that content producers are at severe risk of hackers accessing their content through smaller firms. While big firms like Netflix spend large amounts of money on cybersecurity, postproduction vendors may not have the means to invest so heavily. As such, this may be a weak spot that could lead to similar leaks in the future.

For now, we will have to wait to see if FOX or any of the other big networks receives similar ransom threats. Of course, it is possible that other studios may decide to pay up in secret. Only time will tell.

Title image credit: jivacore/Shutterstock.com

Image credits: chrisdorney/Shutterstock.com,

Ray Walsh

I am a freelance journalist and blogger from England. I am highly interested in politics and in particular the subject of IR. I am an advocate for freedom of speech, equality, and personal privacy. On a more personal level I like to stay active, love snowboarding, swimming and cycling, enjoy seafood, and love to listen to trap music.

2 responses to “Netflix Hackers Leak Orange Is the New Black

  1. > For that reason, anybody tempted to enjoy the leaked episodes (while they are circulating online for free) is strongly advised to do so with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN service provides its subscribers with encryption. This means that everything a VPN user does online is private. <

    Nice. So BestVPN advocates people stealing other people's content, which cost good money to produce. In essence, these people are also stealing from me, because I pay for a Netflix subscription. Some call it a victimless crime, but, presuming Netflix loses revenue, it translates to Netflix having to increase subscription rates and/or reduce the amount of programming it pays for.

    1. Hi Dan,

      I have disused this with Ray. He says that this ius not realy what he meant. When writing the article Ray was aware that he was inadvertantly advertizing the early release of the show. He didn’t want to accidentally lead a fan into the decision to watch the leaked episodes without warning them that doing so without the privacy of a VPN could land them in trouble. People’s private decisions are nothing to do with us. However, Ray feels that it is only responsible to warn people. In essence, he would rather your complaint than one saying: “Oh my god look what you did I’m in huge trouble”.

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