Netflix partner studio trusted hackers’ honor — and it cost them

Netflix partner studio trusted hackers’ honor — and it cost them

Last April, several episodes of the fifth season of Orange is the New Black were leaked online. New testimony reveals it all started due to outdated computer software and the fickle whims of extortionist hackers.

According to Variety, a collective calling themselves The Dark Overlord cracked the computers of Larson Studios, an audio post-production company that has worked on Orange is the New Black, among other shows. The studio was randomly targeted by someone who realized one of Larson’s computers still ran on Windows 7.

Around Christmas of last year, studio heads Rick and Jill Larson were sent strange text messages with just their names, which they ignored. Later, they’d get more texts with vague threats, as well as emails with the full details of the hack and demands. They confirmed with their employees that the information (which included the OITNB episodes) was missing from their computers.

If you saw this story unfold in a cheesy, early-90s thriller film, you would throw popcorn at the screen and shout about how unrealistic it was. I know I would, not least because a text from an unknown number with my name would set off far too many alarm bells for me to just ignore it.

The hackers demanded Bitcoin payment, which the Larsons later paid — through the nose, and against the advice of the FBI. In total, they paid the hackers about $50,000 in cryptocurrency. That did them no good, as the episodes were leaked online anyway.

The Dark Overlord later said it leaked the show despite receiving the payment because the Larsons broke the rules Overlord made up by talking to the FBI. This contradicts what they said in April, however, as they claimed then the reason was that Netflix wouldn’t play ball.

Who’d have thought a shady hacker collective attempting extortion wouldn’t keep their word?

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