Hacker releases episodes of hit Netflix series early

A hacker claims to have released episodes of a hit Netflix series early. The hacker had earlier demanded a ransom to prevent leaking the series online.

Going by the name The Dark Overlord (they're never called 'Alice' or 'Derek', are they?) the hacker claims to have released episodes of Netflix's Orange is the New Black onto a file-sharing site over the weekend. According to Associated Press, 10 episodes of the 13-episode fifth series are now available to view online. It's more than a month before they're due to stream on Netflix.

Netflix hasn't commented on the leak. It had earlier claimed a small production studio that also works with major TV networks had suffered a security breach. It described it as an "active situation" that is being investigated by the FBI.

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After releasing the episodes, the hacker taunted Netflix in a statement. "It didn't have to be this way, Netflix," the hacker wrote. "You're going to lose a lot more money in all of this than what our modest [ransom] offer was."

The hacker claims to be in possession of episodes from other upcoming series, including those from US TV networks ABC, National Geographic and Fox. Again, there are threats to release them unless ransoms are paid.

Leaking episodes online could harm Netflix's subscriber numbers, as people may be tempted to download them online without paying for a subscription. Whenever Netflix's quarterly subscriber gains fall short of predictions, the company's stock suffers.

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Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.