The curious case of the Disney hacking hoax

HACKING movie studios to hold content ransom is a growing trend among cyber criminals but others, it seems, are hoping to get rich by simply pretending to do it.

THERE has been a spate of hacking attacks in recent weeks targeted at big movie studios in which cyber criminals try to kidnap content and hold it for ransom.
Netflix’s popular show Orange is the New Black was stolen and prematurely released by hackers a few weeks ago, while shortly after six people were arrested by Indian authorities attempting to hold a major movie to ransom.
Around the same time Disney announced it had been hacked by a group demanding payment or it would prematurely release an unnamed blockbuster movie.
But after making the apparent hack public Disney became very coy about discussing details and refused to talk to the media.
The Los Angeles Times later identified the movie being ransomed as the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film but there was also speculation it could be the new Star Wars movie due to hit cinemas in December.
Disney Chief executive Bob Iger initially held a staff meeting in which he claimed that hackers had been in contact and were threatening to share the film online in several parts. Mr Iger said the hackers would release five minutes of the film and then 20-minute chunks unless the ransom was paid. The company declined to pay the hackers and turned it over to the FBI.
But for some, the story didn’t seem to add up.
Website TorrentFreak dedicated to all things torrent-related including hacking and piracy conducted its own “investigation” and suggested the demand from the hacker group was a hoax.
“Our conclusion was that the ‘hack’ almost certainly never happened and, from the beginning, no one had ever spoken about the new Pirates film being the ‘hostage’.

“Everything pointed to a ransom being demanded for a non-existent copy of The Last Jedi and that the whole thing was a grand hoax,” the website wrote.
And it turns they were right. The whole thing was much to do about nothing.
Following an FBI investigation, the Disney boss said there was no way that anybody had access to the films before they appeared in the cinema.
“To our knowledge, we were not hacked,” Mr Iger told Yahoo Finance over the weekend.
“We had a threat of a hack of a movie being stolen.
“We decided to take it seriously but not react in the manner in which the person who was threatening us had required.”
Hacking movie studios to hold content for ransom is a growing trend among cyber criminals but others, it seems, are hoping to get rich by simply pretending to do it.


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