A malicious hacker has reportedly released 10 episodes of the new series of TV show ‘Orange is the New Black’.
The episodes are believed to have been uploaded to file-sharing sites across the net after US media firm Netflix refused to pay a ransom.
The shows were due to be released officially from 9 June onwards.
The hacker who stole the episodes said they had also managed to steal series from other broadcasters including ABC, Fox and National Geographic.
Netflix told Entertainment Weekly that it was “aware of the situation” and added: “A production vendor used by several major TV studios had its security compromised and the appropriate law enforcement authorities are involved.”
The FBI is also believed to be looking into the theft which is believed to have taken place in late 2016.
The hacker behind the theft uses the alias The Dark Overlord and before now has largely targeted hospitals and other healthcare institutions.
On 29 April, the hacker wrote a message on the Pastebin website which scolded Netflix for not paying the ransom.
It is not clear how much money the hacker wanted for keeping the stolen TV shows offline.
Computer security news site Databreaches.net said it had been given evidence by the hacker that they also got away with 37 other shows and films.
Stolen shows include XXX: Return of Xander Cage, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Season 1 of Bill Nye Saves the World
Economics professor Brett Danaher from Chapman University in the US told the Washington Post that the impact of the theft may spark attacks from other hackers and groups keen to cash in.
“There is some evidence that pre-release piracy is the most damaging piracy to studios,” he said.