Okay, as tempting as it is to write the rest of the piece in pirate speak, it’s taking far too long to translate (find your English-to-Pirate online translator here). So suffice it to say that Disney is currently being blackmailed by hackers who are holding the fifth installment of the hit movie franchise for an unspecified (but reportedly enormous) amount of loot…er, money.
Disney CEO Bob Iger has not said specifically, but all internal leaks suggest that the company leadership is resolutely opposed to paying up. If that is the case, the hackers have threatened to release bits of the film incrementally.
Hector Monsegur, Director of Security Assessments for Rhino Security Labs and a regular expert on the Science Channel series Outlaw Tech, was a former computer hacker who was arrested and then became an FBI informant. He told Deadline that “attribution is probably the hardest thing the FBI is dealing with here.”
Because the FBI has to track attacks backwards, “It’s nearly impossible because you have various hackers from pretty much anywhere. Also, they are aware of techniques to track them down. So you could have an Egyptian hacker who uses Russian software so it looks like it’s Russian but is actually from Egypt.”
It remains to be seen how effective that strategy will be. After all, people planning on going to see the epic movie on the big screen are likely not going to be interested in watching segments of the film on their iPhone from some hacker site. And the diehard fans that will rush to catch stolen clips online are also the ones who will flood the theaters multiple times to see the full film.
Still, this franchise is Disney’s cash cow, having raked in almost $4 billion since it debuted in 2003. Any dent in that kind of revenue is a significant loss of booty.