Pirates held to ransom

Next story
Olivia Storey

Ransomware has been hitting the headlines alarmingly frequently, and large organisations like Disney are no stranger to it.

The recently released Pirates of The Caribbean: Dean Men Tell No Tales was hit with a ransomware demand, prior to its release on 26th May 2017.

Hackers were said to have made their way into the studio’s computer system, where the Disney film was created, and stole the film to hold it ransom. The hackers’ demanded enormous amounts of money in Bitcoin, or else the film would have been released in increments over the internet.

Disney did not give into the ransom and alerted the FBI, who launched an investigation.

The ‘Pirates’ franchise has pulled in $3.72 billion in worldwide box office sales since first launching in 2003, and there was worry that the potential leak could affect the new films sales in the box office.

Similar ransomware attacks affected Netflix recently, where a stolen season of Orange is the New Black was held, with a demand for monetary reward, and was released unlawfully online.

Mark James, ESET IT Security Specialist, discusses why hackers use ransomware and are targeting such high profile companies.

“Anything that has a value will always be a potential victim of theft, either digital or physical if someone has it and someone wants it then in theory there’s a market for it.

“The latest film to hit the headlines is the new Disney film “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”.

“Hackers are seeking payment to stop them releasing the film before its official UK release date of May 26.

“Disney has refused to pay the ransom, and rightly so.

“To be honest if you’re going to download the film from an unofficial or even dodgy source anyway then a month before or a month after is not going to make much difference.

“The film industry has been plagued with piracy issues as early as the 1960’s and it is not going to change anytime soon.

“Paying the ransom or indeed any ransom is generally frowned upon for many reasons: funding other criminal activity, rewarding the bad guys or funding future attacks are all good reasons to not pay, as the chances are it’s going to get released anyway.”


Does ransomware worry you? If so, does it worry you more than different types of malware? Let us know on Twitter @ESETUK.


Join the ESET UK LinkedIn Group and stay up to date with the blog. If you are interested in seeing where ESET has been featured in the news then check out our ‘In the news’ section.