WHEN Netflix didn’t respond to a cyber criminal’s shakedown demand, the first 10 episodes of Orange is the New Black season five were leaked on popular file-sharing site the Pirate Bay.
The illegal leak was the latest cybersecurity breach masterminded by TheDarkOverlord — a mysterious force operating under the cover of the internet.
Despite orchestrating a long list of online extortion, TheDarkOverlord remains largely secretive, with cyber security professionals struggling to unmask the criminal.
“No-one knows who TheDarkOverlord is. No-one even knows if he or she is one lone hacker, or a group of hackers,” wrote security blogger Graham Cluley.
“But one thing is certain, TheDarkOverlord must be giving some companies sleepless nights as they struggle to work out the best way to respond.”
The shadowy figure first appeared online last June when they demanded ransom from victims listed in hundreds of thousands of records stolen from several US healthcare organisations.
Following the initial hack, TheDarkOverlord continued to focus efforts on the health care sector, copying patient data from a cancer clinic, dentist’s network, health information management company, two orthopedic clinics and health insurance provider.
Each time the method was the same: Gain access, copy sensitive data and then threaten to leak it online unless the affected company pay a ransom.
TheDarkOverlord broadened their horizons and applied the same extortion methods to a plastics manufacturer, investment bank, linen supplier and construction services provider, before moving into the entertainment sector with the Orange Is the New Black leak.
The Orange is the New Black leak was particularly interesting as TheDarkOverlord first approached the company doing post-production audio work for the show, Larson Studios, with a ransom demand of 30 bitcon or $A58,300.
When Larson Studios refused to pay the ransom, the hacker approached Netflix directly with the same threat and was obviously not awarded with the requested ransom.
TheDarkOverlord claims to have been successfully paid ransom threats before, however these were likely from companies that would face serious legal and financial repercussions if the sensitive data made its way online.
Netflix would obviously be less concerned with these issues, which would be why it refused to pay the ransom.
It is unclear whether TheDarkOverlord expected Netflix to come through with the goods, but the leak has done wonders for raising the public profile of the mysterious hacker.
After proving their ransom threat was more than a bluff, TheDarkOverlord has claimed to have access to even more shows, which will be released if the studios don’t come to the table.
Who is next on the list? FOX, IFC, NAT GEO, and ABC. Oh, what fun we’re all going to have. We’re not playing any games anymore.
— thedarkoverlord (@tdohack3r) April 29, 2017
It’s nearly time to play another round.
— thedarkoverlord (@tdohack3r) May 1, 2017
TheDarkOverlord published a list of shows they claim to currently have, which include NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, CBS’s NCIS Los Angeles and Fox’s New Girl.
The hacker has given no indication of when they will release these television shows, but history shows they likely mean business.
Kevin Mitnick, who spent time on the FBI’s Most Wanted List for hacking 40 corporations, discusses his new book, “The Art of Invisibility,” on Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero. He also explains why hackers breach data with relative ease, and why we should never link our devices. Photo: iStock