Contrary to multiple news reports last week, Disney wasn’t hacked, but was the victim of a simple extortion attempt by con artists, company President Bob Iger said.
“To our knowledge we were not hacked,” Iger told Yahoo Finance in a TV interview, saying he wanted to correct a story that had been “reported erroneously by many entities.”
After Iger mentioned the extortion attempt — from people claiming to have a hacked copy of a unreleased Disney blockbuster — at a May 22 town hall in New York for staff from Disney subsidiary ABC, the Hollywood Reporter ran a story under the headline: “Disney Chief Bob Iger Says Hackers Claim to Have Stolen Upcoming Movie.”
Multiple news outlets, including CyberScoop, picked up the story, some identifying the movie as the latest installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, due out on May 26.
But in reality, insisted Iger, “We had a threat of a hack of a movie being stolen. We decided to take it seriously but not react in the manner in which the person who was threatening us had required” — i.e. the corporation didn’t pay the ransom.
“We don’t believe that it was real and nothing has happened,” he said.
The ransom attempt got such attention in part because it followed only weeks after a real hacker uploaded 10 episodes of the upcoming season of “Orange Is the New Black” to the file-sharing site Pirate Bay after series producer Netflix refused to pay an undisclosed amount. The episodes were posted on Pirate Bay six weeks ahead of the series’ official June 9 launch.