Swashbuckling hackers threaten to leak new Pirates of the Caribbean film

16 May 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge poster. Image: Sarunyu L/Shutterstock

Pirates of the Caribbean – and Walt Disney – are being held to ransom by hackers threatening to leak the film online.

Disney’s swashbuckling film franchise Pirates of the Caribbean is experiencing its first case of real piracy, five films down the line.

According to the The Hollywood Reporter, the latest film – Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge – has been stolen by hackers who are now holding Captain Jack Sparrow and company to ransom.

Speaking at an event to employees of Disney-owned ABC, studio CEO Robert Iger said that the film had been compromised prior to its imminent release and that unless the hackers’ ransom is paid, they would release it in segments online.

While Disney itself has not officially commented on the hack, Iger said that this would include releasing the first five minutes of the film, followed by 20-minute segments.

Similar to the ongoing WannaCry ransomware crisis that spread across the world, the hackers in this case are also looking to be paid in the cryptocurrency bitcoin in order to prevent their identities being revealed.

Threatens major franchises

It unknown whether or not Disney is likely to pay out to any ransom to prevent the film going online before its 25 May release, but the studio’s vulnerability could prove substantial for Hollywood.

As the owners of Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm, Disney has access to the biggest movie franchises ever. Last year, the studio reaped more than $4bn, with the four highest-grossing films all coming under its umbrella.

This is not Hollywood’s first clash with hackers. Towards the end of 2014, the now infamous hack of Sony Pictures occurred, resulting in the studio’s entire systems and personal information of employees being leaked online.

Soon thereafter, as many as five of Sony’s films that had yet to be released began appearing on the internet.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge poster. Image: Sarunyu L/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic