The Walt Disney Company is the latest high-profile target in a string of devastating extortion-based attacks worldwide, as CEO Bob Iger recently told ABC employees that unidentified hackers are demanding ransom for an unreleased movie they claim to have stolen from the entertainment titan.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the company has said it will not pay, and also declined to name the film that was stolen. The hackers have threatened to release the film’s first five minutes if they are not paid a large sum in bitcoin, and then release the rest of the movie in 20-minute chunks if the ransom remains unpaid.
Disney is currently working with federal investigators but said it will wait for hackers to show evidence they have a copy of the movie before acting. Disney could not be reached for further comment.
The company has multiple movies set to be released in the coming months, including “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” on May 19, and “Cars 3,” which hits theaters June 3.
Rumors circulated online last week that a work print of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” had been pirated and was being held for ransom, but days later online chatter labeled it a hoax.
The popular Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black” also suffered from extortive hacking recently, with 10 episodes of the upcoming season uploaded to torrenting site The Pirate Bay after the company refused to pay an undisclosed amount.
Talent agencies throughout Hollywood are also on guard for these types of plots. UTA, WME and ICM have seen themselves targeted in recent months.