HACK­ERS AT­TEMPT TO BLACK­MAIL DISNEY

New Straits Times - - World -

LOS AN­GE­LES: Disney chief Bob Iger said on Monday hack­ers claim­ing to have ac­cess to one of the com­pany’s un­re­leased movies were de­mand­ing a “huge” ran­som.

He did not re­veal which film had been stolen but said the com­pany would not give in to the black­mail at­tempt, ac­cord­ing to The Hol­ly­wood Re­porter, quot­ing Iger from a meet­ing in New York with em­ploy­ees of the Disney-owned ABC tele­vi­sion net­work.

The weekly re­ported on its web­site — cit­ing mul­ti­ple un­named sources — that Disney was work­ing with fed­eral agents and mon­i­tor­ing for leaks online.

Movie web­site Dead­line iden­ti­fied Pi­rates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which opens on May 26, as the tar­get, without re­veal­ing its sources, while some film writ­ers spec­u­lated on Twit­ter that Pixar’s Cars 3, due for re­lease next month, might have been hit.

Although both films are ex­pected to do well for Disney, their profits are likely to be dwarfed by an­other film on the com­pany’s slate, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which hits the­atres on Dec 15.

“IMO, if it were Last Jedi, he would pay in a heart­beat. But Pi­rates... meh,” Ryan Parker, a staff writer on the Hol­ly­wood Re­porter, spec­u­lated on Twit­ter.

The cy­ber-thieves de­manded to be paid in online cur­rency Bit­coin and are threat­en­ing to re­lease five min­utes of the movie, fol­lowed by 20-minute seg­ments un­til the ran­som is de­liv­ered.

The hack fol­lows a re­cent cy­ber attack on in­ter­net streamer Net­flix that led to 10 episodes of Or­ange is the New Black be­ing leaked ahead of re­lease.

Dead Men Tell No Tales is the fifth in the Pi­rates of the Caribbean se­ries, which stars Johnny Depp and has taken US$3.7 bil­lion (RM15.9 bil­lion) at the box of­fice since 2003.

Sci-fi nov­el­ist Paul Tassi, who com­ments on tech­nol­ogy and the in­ter­net for Forbes Mag­a­zine, said Pi­rates would be un­likely to suf­fer were it the tar­get, since its re­lease date is so near.

“Yes, go­ing to a movie in the­atres is one of the more ex­haust­ing me­dia ex­pe­ri­ences still left in so­ci­ety, but the kinds of peo­ple who are will­ing to pay money to see Depp stum­ble his way through a fifth Pi­rates of the Caribbean movie in the­atres are prob­a­bly not the type to down­load a stolen copy of it right be­fore it comes out,” he said.

“And like all movies, Pi­rates would ap­pear on tor­rent sites re­gard­less prac­ti­cally the day of its re­lease, so the hack­ers seem to be re­ally over­es­ti­mat­ing their im­pact here.”

The Walt Disney Com­pany didn’t re­spond to re­quests for comment. AFP

Pi­rates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Ben and Josh Safdie

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