A mysterious hacker collective calling itself “TheDarkOverlord” made headlines this week after stealing post-production copies of season five of Netflix‘s original series Orange is the New Black. The files were stolen from a third-party studio Netflix contracts to master the soundtracks for its series. Ten episodes of the fifth season were then leaked online where they were made quickly available for streaming on illegal streaming sites and digital piracy hubs.
TheDarkOverlord tweeted shortly after “And so let it be read that the loathsome giants do too fall. Hello Netflix, we’ve arrived,” in an attempt to extort money from Netflix (30 Bitcoin, or $45,000). So far, the streaming service has yet to cave into their demands, and their stock even went up 3% in light of the news of the data breach. So much for that plan.
Recently, rumors have swirled that the mysterious hacker group might have up to three dozen additional shows and films from various studios, including the Netflix original film Win It All and new seasons of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Portlandia, among many others. All full list of the stolen properties was sent to Databreaches.net. Netflix has been tight-lipped about the situation, stating only “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.”
Already, sources are speculating that there might be more to this story than meets the eye. All sorts of theories for TheDarkOverlord’s intentions have been thrown around, including that the leak might be a case of corporate espionage by a rival or merely a publicity stunt by ambitious hackers looking to build name-recognition.
Whatever the group’s (or individual’s) intentions are, Netflix has chosen to take the high road and ignore their demands. Most likely, this latest extortion attempt has done nothing but boost publicity and buzz for season five of Orange is the New Black. Since Netflix doesn’t rely on ticket sales as a theatrical film studio does, leaking episodes of a single series early isn’t likely to put a dent in their over 100-million-strong subscriber base.