- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 29, 2017

Unaired episodes of the hit Netflix original series “Orange Is the New Black” were leaked online Saturday after the video streaming service allegedly ignored the responsible party’s ransom demands.

A hacker or hackers using the alias “The Dark Overlord” dumped 10 episodes from the series’ forthcoming season online over the weekend in the wake of an apparently unsuccessful extortion attempt targeting Netflix and Larson Studios, a post-production company based in Hollywood.

The first episode from the series’ forthcoming season was uploaded Friday to The Pirate Bay, a file-sharing website, months after the shakedown attempt was allegedly first initiated and six weeks shy of its scheduled premiere. The remainder of the stolen episodes was similarly uploaded about 12 hours later and accompanied by a press release attributed to The Dark Overlord.

“It didn’t have to be this way, Netflix. You’re going to lose a lot more money in all of this than what our modest offer was,” the statement said in part.

Netflix acknowledged the incident in a statement Friday after the season premiere was leaked, but did not immediately weigh in publicly on the heels of Saturday’s release of nine additional episodes.

“We are aware of the situation,” Netflix told Variety on Friday. “A production vendor used by several major TV studios had its security compromised and the appropriate law enforcement authorities are involved.”

Indeed, the tech website Torrent Freak has since reported that the heist occurred as the result of a breach suffered by Larson Studios in late 2016, citing a recent interview with an individual affiliate with The Dark Overlord.

“After we had a copy of their data safely in our possession, we asked that we be paid a small fee in exchange for non-disclosure,” the individual told Torrent Freak.

Larson Studios initially agreed to The Dark Overlord’s demands but ultimately failed to pay the ransom, the individual said.

“We’re not quite done yet, though,” The Dark Overlord said in the statement issued alongside the second leak. “There’s more Netflix on the feasting menu soon (in addition to the other studios, of course), but we’ll get to that later.”

The fifth season of “Orange Is the New Black” is currently slated to be available for Netflix’s 100 million subscribers on June 9.

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