Disney’s upcoming installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has been plundered by real-life pirates who are now holding Disney Studios to a bitcoin ransom.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger has told ABC employees on Monday that hackers have threatened to release a Disney film they claim to have pilfered from the studio. While details of the bitcoin ransom demand are scarce, Iger reportedly stated that hackers demanded ‘a huge sum be paid in Bitcoin.’
To carry out their threat, the hackers would release five minutes of the film initially online, before uploading 20-minute chunks until the point where their extortion demands are met.
Although Iger did not reveal the movie allegedly stolen by the ransom-demanding hackers, Deadline has confirmed that it is the newest film in the Johnny Depp-starring Pirates franchise. The upcoming ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ is scheduled for release May 26. So far, the movies have raked in nearly $4 billion in box-office receipts worldwide since its launch in 2013 and is a lucrative franchise for Disney Studios.
Bob Iger added that Disney is refusing to pay the ransom and is currently working with the FBI.
In April, a hacker or a group of hackers with the moniker “thedarkoverlord” leaked 10 episodes of Netflix’s ‘Orange is the New Black’ on PirateBay after Netflix refused to cave into the hackers’ ransom demand.
Disney’s predicament underlines the lack of robust cybersecurity measures at billion-dollar corporations at a time when the threat of ransomware is more pronounced than ever.
Last week, variants of the ‘WannaCry’ ransomware struck over 100 countries around the world, throwing productivity off gear. In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) halted surgeries due to a lack of access to computers. The ransom is programmed to seek $300 in bitcoin from every one of nearly 90,000 infected machines. However, the extortionists behind WannaCry have taken in a relatively modest $60,000 so far in bitcoin ransom.
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