The Dark Overlord claims to have stolen the upcoming season of the hit show and is demanding an unspecified amount of money to prevent it being released

A hacker claims to have stolen the upcoming season of Netflixs hit series Orange Is The New Black and is demanding that the video streaming service pay an unspecified ransom to prevent all the new episodes from being prematurely released online.

The hacker, operating under the name The Dark Overlord, has already purportedly uploaded the first episode to an illegal file-sharing service. The Associated Press could not legally confirm the authenticity of that uploaded file.

New episodes of the series are scheduled for official release on 9 June.

Netflix said that a small production vendor that works with several major TV studios had suffered a breach. The Los Gatos, California, company described it as an active situation thats being investigated by the FBI and other authorities.

Pirated copies of the show could dent Netflixs subscriber growth and the companys stock price.

In the ransom note, The Dark Overlord claimed to have stolen series from other studios, too, by breaking into a single company. The purported hacker promised to also release those titles unless modest ransoms are paid.

Rumours of a massive leak of Hollywood films and TV episodes have been circulating online for months, fed by purported screenshots of the footage and a copy of a proposed deal to delete the stolen material in return for tens of thousands of dollars in electronic currency.

When the AP contacted The Dark Overlord in February, the hacker said the purloined video wouldnt be made publicly available after all, making the far-fetched claim that no one really (cares) about unreleased movies and TV show episodes.

It is not clear what triggered The Dark Overlords renewed ransom demands.

Netflix is counting onOrange Is The New Black to help it add 3.2 million subscribers from April through June. Thats substantially higher than the companys average gain of 1.8 million subscribers in the same period over the past five years.

Whenever Netflixs quarterly subscriber gains fall shy of managements projections, the companys stock usually plunges.

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Hacker holds Netflix to ransom over new season of Orange Is The New Black