Apr
30
2017

What was the victory condition for the Netflix Orange is the New Black extortion hack?

Brief summary: somebody apparently hacked Netflix, got episodes of Orange is the New Black, and threatened to release them online prior to their first viewing in June unless Netflix paid up.  Netflix said no. The episodes were duly released. And, as Forbes pointed out: what, exactly, was the goal here?

Netflix is a streaming service. Nobody pays for individual episodes of Orange is the New Black. In fact, is anyone even watching Orange is the New Black anymore? Perhaps The Dark Overlord imagined hoards of fans canceling their memberships, finally liberated from Netflix’s tyrannical monthly fee, heading in droves to The Pirate Bay to watch ten out of thirteen episodes in low-definition. Finally, the evil overlord Netflix felled by the might of the dark one.

It does seem to be a fairly involved way to get yourself in staggering amounts of trouble, and without a terribly suitable payoff.  I mean, yes, the episodes are valuable.  That matters when it comes time for the hacker’s trial. But it’s unlikely to matter all that much when it comes to eyeballs, because that show’s been already been sold and the subscribers have already subscribed. There’s also the minor detail that I don’t recommend using any of the public piracy or file-sharing sites, unless you like the idea that various Western intelligence agencies and Interpol now have evidence that you’ve committing crimes*. And how were these people going to get paid?  Bitcoin?  That’s more complex than you’d think.

So, again: what was the victory condition, here?

Moe Lane

*Not that I know this officially. Or even unofficially.  But having the NSA take over various American bits of the Dark Web seems like the obvious move.

9 Comments

  • nicklevi86 says:

    Given that the Internet is a DARPA baby to begin with, I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the Dark Web was already a honey trap to attract that sort of person. Easier to keep an eye on them that way, and you only really need enough arrests to keep appearances.

    • Luke says:

      Wouldn’t be surprised? Or totally expect?
      Kind of like when we found out that the NSA supplied the algorithm for the Pretty Good Protection encryption protocol. Yeah, that’s totally secure. Right.

  • BigGator5 says:

    Some people just want to see the world burn.

    • acat says:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICcoOtqYVYY
      .
      That said .. if the world *is* gonna go up, as seems increasingly likely, I’m gonna be ready and stocked up on popcorn.
      .
      Mew

      • BigGator5 says:

        I live near a primary nuclear target (Orlando, FL). I sleep well knowing full well that I will not survive a nuclear war.

        • acat says:

          Better to be one of those incinerated instantly by nuclear fire, than to be one left alive, slowly starving, wandering blinded in the radioactive wastes ..
          .
          Yeah .. I get the sentiment .. allegedly, Argonne and Fermi were targets, once upon a time .. no idea if they still are.
          .
          Mew

          • nicklevi86 says:

            I live downwind of almost every major target(That’s how the DownEast region was named.) The industrial “fallout” already contributes to the highest cancer rate in the country, so if s#!t goes down we’ll live. Just any potential children are guaranteed three arms and a built-in nightlight.

          • Luke says:

            Oy. You’re giving me flashbacks, man.
            .
            In my native area, there are a group of people called “the downwinders” who are absolutely convinced that any and all health-related difficulties they have are from being downwind of the Trinity test.
            They are not at all hampered by the inconvenient fact that Idaho is not, in fact, downwind from the Trinity test site.
            If they’re that scared of radioactivity, they might also want to consider moving off a plain of flood basalts at high elevation with little cloud cover or humidity. But that’s evidently different.

  • Luke says:

    Step one: steal underwear
    Step two: ?????
    Step three: Profit!
    .
    Look, it’s not rational. I can kind of understand how he got there, but it’s an inchoate mess. And trying to tease the component parts into something that can be described is making my head hurt.

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