How Hollywood Got Hacked: Studio at Center of Netflix Leak Breaks Silence (EXCLUSIVE)

Silicon Valley Hollywood Star
Michael Buckner/Variety

“Hello Rick.” “Hello Jill.”

Larson Studios president Rick Larson and his wife and business partner, Jill Larson, didn’t recognize the number that sent them these two short text messages via their personal cell phones two days before Christmas last year, so they simply ignored them. “We didn’t really think much of them,” said Jill Larson.

Little did they know that the messages were part of Hollywood’s biggest security breach since the Sony Pictures hack of 2014. But in an exclusive interview with Variety, the Larson Studios principals are breaking their silence on an incident that threatened the existence of their family-owned audio post-production business. An incident that led them to quietly wire more than $50,000 in extortion money to a group of hackers, only to see some of the most valuable works of their clients, including 10 unreleased episodes of Netflix drama series “Orange Is the New Black,” leak online.

Both Larsons got another message from the same number on Christmas Eve. “Why are you ignoring me, check your email for a message that will change your life,” that vaguely threatening message read. They still weren’t too concerned — but quickly changed their minds when the email arrived a day later. A hacking group calling itself the Dark Overlord told them it had broken into Larson’s server, and was threatening to leak all of the company’s data.

Larson Studios chief engineer David Dondorf and director of digital systems Chris Unthank left their families on Christmas morning and rushed to the studio to examine the hackers’ claims. “Once I was able to look at our server, my hands started shaking, and I almost threw up,” Unthank remembered. The hackers had stolen and deleted all of the data, just as they had threatened in their letter. They demanded ransom payments via the crypto-currency Bitcoin to return what they had stolen. Unthank and Dondorf unplugged everything, and Dondorf immediately called the FBI.

Hackers leaked 10 episodes of “Orange Is the New Black” more than a month before the show was to premiere when Netflix refused ransom demands.

But the authorities weren’t much help on Christmas morning. “They were, I think, sympathetic, a bit overwhelmed,” recalled Jill Larson, vice president and head of administration at the company, which has been in business in Hollywood since 2002. The FBI asked for a form to be filled out, and it was. But forms don’t tell you how to respond to ransom demands from hackers with sinister names. So Larson Studios hired private data security experts to find out what had happened — and what to do next.

They eventually pieced together how the attack had unfolded. The Dark Overlord had been scanning the internet for PCs running older versions of Windows that it could easily break into, and happened to stumble across an old computer at Larson Studios that was still running Windows 7. “They were basically just trolling around to see if they could find a computer that they could open,” Dondorf explained. “It wasn’t aimed at us.”

Next, the company significantly beefed up its security, and also closely examined what had been stolen. “We took a large part of January trying to figure out what exactly they had,” Jill Larson said. This involved extensive communication with the hackers entirely via email. “Before we were willing to pay any kind of extortion, we wanted some proof.”

The Larsons didn’t immediately decide to pay the ransom. “It was an evolutionary process,” Jill Larson said. “The Dark Overlord had given us a very short window to respond. They were threatening us with actually releasing ‘Orange Is the New Black’ before New Year’s. So the feeling was that we needed to at least initially agree to cooperate and buy time.”


Orange is the new black

Orange Is The New Black Leak: Who Is TheDarkOverlord?

Meanwhile, the security company hired by Larson was looking into the Dark Overlord’s past attacks. The hacking group had targeted a number of healthcare facilities and other businesses in the previous months. “It was Gorilla Glue before us, and a children’s charity right after,” Dondorf said. Past reports seemed to suggest that paying up actually worked. “They would return the materials, destroy the materials, and it was over. This was the way they work,” said Rick Larson.

When the hackers finally delivered proof, at the end of January, of what they’d stolen, including dozens of titles from major studios such as Netflix, ABC, CBS and Disney, Larson did two things: It filed an official police report, and it decided to pay. “We had a trust from our clients to protect their intellectual property, and the best way to do that with these people was to pay them,” or so the thinking was at the time, Rick Larson recalled.

The hackers had demanded a payment of 50 Bitcoin, which equaled a little more than $50,000 at the time. “Buying and sending Bitcoin is not the easiest thing in the world, we found out,” explained Jill Larson. First, she had to wire the money to Coinbase, a kind of internet bank for Bitcoin transactions. That led alarm bells to go off at Larson’s regular bank, which urged the company to talk to the FBI one more time.

“Once I was able to look at our server, my hands started shaking, and I almost threw up.”
Chris Unthank, Larson Studios director of digital systems

On Feb. 6, Jill Larson and Unthank met with special agent John Palmieri, a cyber-crime specialist from the agency’s Los Angeles field office. Palmieri advised them against paying, and told them that the FBI’s recommendation is to not communicate with extortionists. “But they also understand that individual businesses make what is their best decision for their business,” said Jill Larson. “The FBI was aware that we were going to do this.” An FBI spokesman declined comment for this story.

Coinbase didn’t let Jill Larson pay the entire ransom all at once, so she spent about a week in February buying Bitcoins and sending them to the Dark Overlord, 19 transactions in all. After that, Larson Studios received a final email from the Dark Overlord acknowledging the payment. It seemed like the company had dodged a bullet.

“That obviously is not what played out,” Rick Larson said.

A few quiet weeks ensued. Then, on March 31 came a phone call from the FBI with information that the hackers were using the shows stolen in December to blackmail various Hollywood studios. A few days later, the phones at Larson started to ring, with the security departments of various studios on the other end of the line.

And with that, some hard conversations began. Larson Studios previously hadn’t told any of its clients of the breach. “We were very much under a heavy threat from the Dark Overlord,” said Jill Larson. “One of the agreements was: You don’t tell anybody that this happened, we won’t tell anybody this happened.” She said the hackers even contacted some journalists to ping Larson and ask about a possible incident, just to see whether it would spill the beans. The company kept quiet, and the hackers told the Larsons they had done the right thing.

Now, the studios wanted to know the whole story, and the Larsons told them everything that had happened. Upon hearing the news, some studios decided to take their business elsewhere. But the majority stuck with the company, and instead helped to further beef up its security. “We work closely with the studios,” said Rick Larson. “Some have just been very supportive.”

News of the hack broke in April, when the Dark Overlord publicly tried to pressure Netflix. The hackers first leaked one unreleased episode of “Orange Is the New Black,” and when Netflix didn’t pay, followed up with nine more episodes a month and a half before the show was scheduled to premiere on the service. Netflix declined comment for this story.

Soon after, another email from the Dark Overlord arrived at Larson. “They said they felt they owed us an explanation as to why they had done it,” said Jill Larson. In the email, the hackers argued that Larson Studios had broken the terms of the agreement by talking to the FBI. “So they decided to punish us.”

Little is known about the Dark Overlord, representatives of which didn’t respond to a request for comment for this story. Most security experts assume that it is not the work of one person but a group, which frequently hacks and then blackmails small businesses. It would also go on to leak an ABC show, “Steve Harvey’s Funderdome,” in June.

“A lot of what went on was ignorance. We are a small company.”
Rick Larson

“Don’t trust hackers,” quipped Rick Larson when asked about lessons learned. Then, he gets serious. Those weeks in January were a confusing and stressful time for the small family business, and the pressure led the company to take actions it now regrets. “With the information that we had, we made the best decisions we could make at the time,” he explained. “Those would not be the decisions that we would make now. They may have been a mistake, and for that, we are humbly sorry.”

Larson Studios has spent months trying to mend relationships with its clients, and strengthening its security. “You’ve got people around here who’ve spent the last six months living, breathing and dying this whole situation,” said Rick Larson. “Lots of lost sleep, and boy, a lot of learning. We probably know way more than we ever wanted to know about this.”


orange is the new black season 4 trailer

‘Orange Is the New Black’ Leak Shows: Hollywood Cybersecurity Lives and Dies With Third-Party Vendors

The company spent an estimated six figures on new security measures, some of which were recommended by the studios. Now, it keeps audio and video files separate, so that attackers would never be able to get their hands on both together. Data leaving the house is encrypted by default, networks are separated and computers on premise are locked down. “We now know that we are extremely secure,” Jill Larson said.

That’s not to say that the company didn’t care about security before. Larson’s employees just didn’t know all that much about it. Having a computer running an ancient version of Windows on the network was clearly a terrible lack of oversight, as was not properly separating internal servers from the internet.

“A lot of what went on was ignorance,” admitted Rick Larson. “We are a small company. Did we even know what the content security departments were at our clients? Absolutely not. I couldn’t have told you who to call. I can now.”

In many ways, the hack was a wake-up call for all of Hollywood. Studios had already significantly beefed up security after hackers broke into Sony Pictures in 2014 and subsequently leaked tens of thousands of emails. But security experts had long warned of the lack of security at third-party vendors, of which there are many. Studios regularly rely on outside companies for sound processing, color correction, 3D upscaling and much more. Some of these outside vendors are big players themselves, but many are family businesses like Larson Studios. In the wake of the Dark Overlord’s hack, there is talk about standardizing security for these businesses.

Work on security continues at Larson Studios, which is still undergoing audits commissioned by some of its major clients. The company is struggling with the perception that it is at the heart of all of Hollywood’s security woes. When word about a possible theft of Disney’s new “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie got out last month, plenty of outlets referenced Larson Studios, despite that the company never touched the movie. “We realized that it was time that we get our story out,” said Jill Larson. “No material has been lost or compromised since Christmas morning.”

In the end, there is a realization that the company may never fully be able to put the episode behind it — if only for the fact that security requires constant vigilance. “It’s not over by any means,” said Rick Larson. “However, the light at the end of the tunnel may actually not be a train. We actually may be heading toward something really good. And it hasn’t felt that way over the last six months.”

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  1. Everyone should install antivirus software on their personal computers. Because hackers can hack personal data.

  2. Jasper Barr says:

    I worked there several years ago on the client side. I can tell you from experience that the IT guys Dave and Chris are not the greatest guys in the world. I watched them berate both staff members and clients, and I wonder how much their arrogance led to this. The fact that they are actually being interviewed in this article tells me they’re still working there, which speaks loads. I was actually happy when my producers told me that we were going to switch facilities. You get what you pay for I guess. I feel sorry for the owners, but keeping good people and weeding out arrogant A-holes is part of the job.

  3. Marc Zorn says:

    My biggest issue (with this article) is the simple statement, “In the wake of the Dark Overlord’s hack, there is talk about standardizing security for these businesses.”

    The MPAA has freely published security best practices based on ISO 27000 for many years now.

    If there is blame to place, it would be squarely with the content owners who work with vendors (of any size) without holding them to minimum security standards.

    If a small company can undercut the prices of the larger ones, there is usually a good reason. In this case it was the security trade-off and it was a bad choice.

    I don’t like to blame the victim, but if a company is going to offer high-quality services, they have to also do high-quality due diligence.

  4. Larson Sucks says:

    Embarrassing and they even tried to pay them! Rumors are they actually didnt have the cash reserves on hand to pay them is the real truth but are trying to save their terrible business. Can’t wait until Larson is out of business. Larson has had a terrible reputation for years, undercutting union regulations. Not paying their employees properly. Chris Unthank is one of the worst engineers that have the title beyond being one of the rudest, cocky and unpleasant people in the world. Guy has no technical knowledge but carries himself as if he knew what he was doing. Larson has a reputation as a bottom feeder. Time to take them out to pasture.

  5. Chris says:

    “an old computer at Larson Studios that was still running Windows 7” – either that’s a typo (do you mean Windows XP?) or something’s up with the story you’ve been fed. Windows 7 is still supported by Microsoft and is receiving regular security patches and updates. Having it on your computer is still perfectly valid.

  6. Jason Guel says:

    “computers on premise are locked down.”
    That should be “on premises” – premise is an idea while premises is a building and it’s land.

  7. Fill says:

    I’ve worked with some post production and CAD firms who have really old, unpatched versions of operating systems. The reason is that their proprietary software for their editing/CAD workstations is only certified to run under very specific OSs. They are NOT intended to be connected to the internet, and in some cases not even to be networked at all. But, inevitably, somebody gets the bright idea to not just network them together, but then connect the network to the Internet.

    And two other asides: They don’t back up their server??! The agency I used to work for not only made nightly back ups, but we rotated them out into a safe deposit box at the bank every week. And lastly, NEVER pay a ransom. Not only are you doing yourself a disservice, but you are encouraging the hackers to continue committing crimes because you are rewarding them.

  8. Sam says:

    Wow what idiots.

  9. Simple advice says:

    You know their are times when you feel sorry for victims then their are times when you wonder if they are pulling a scam because of just how stupid and ignorant they are.

    If you hook a computer(or anything) to the internet it can and will be hacked… period. This is security 101. So simple that the majority of fourteen year olds know it.

    This is the same BS that clinton did and should have been hanged for treason because of it. Why would you put that data on an internet access server? Why? I could understand maybe getting a file and transferring from the internet server to the working server(not connected to the internet). Work on the product and then when its done place on the internet server and send it out… the stupid it burns.

    • squeesh says:

      Simple advice:
      “Hanged for treason”? Yeah, right. Leave Clinton out of this,please. You need to look at our current president who had no problem standing there like an idiot blabbing classified to his Russian friends. If that isn’t borderline treason, I don’t know what is.

    • Sam says:

      Criminal hilbily had intent to deceive.
      And then like 50 previous controversies, she criminally destroyed evidence/email/government property and documents. She then runs for president, claiming she’s too stupid to know what she was doing with her email. And files were also illegally on weiners’ comp.
      Actually apple does the same hacking, holding people hostage till they buy a new iPhone , ohhhh the old one no longer has upgrades.
      It’s the same scam. Pay money for something you already own.

      • squeesh says:

        Shut up,troll. Tired of people constantly bringing Clinton up—she wasn’t charged with anything, so the hell over it,please.

  10. Rudy Mario says:

    Why is it schocking? He is old and the only roles he would get in today’s environment are of a few minutes playing dad to some superhero. There are plenty of old white guys who could do that. Also “actors ” who “retire” always return claiming a very special role only to make a fool of themselves.

  11. ITSecurity says:

    This should be a lesson to everyone who runs or uses networks in their business and takes a lax approach to security under the guise of “we’re not that big” or “we’re not that important” and other rationale for not putting in the proper effort. Security does not have to be draconian or make using technology impossible, but it does need to be one step more than enough to keep others out. As a user, you are also part of the security system and should take your office network security just as serious as you do locking your house and car doors, and setting your alarm before leaving for the day.

  12. Windows 10 commercial?

  13. Opie Taylor says:

    Who gives a shite.

  14. Mullins says:

    When everything goes right with any company’s IT dept: What are we paying you for?!

    When everything goes wrong with any company’s IT dept: What are we paying you for?!

    • Fill says:

      LOL, so true. I worked in IT and when you make things look easy, you are on the chopping block. And, when there’s difficulties, it’s your fault. It takes periodic catastrophes before owners and managers respect the value of a competent IT guy.

  15. Mike says:

    Maybe don’t connect the computers with the movie or show to anything that has internet access. Just a thought.

  16. Mark says:

    Great article, but please change “premise” to “premises”. Premise is a guess and is constantly misused these days.

  17. Alt Bart says:

    You just know that management at one time or another was advised to get a security expert in to “get things right” and they decided that it would cost to much. After all,
    CEO: When was the last time somebody hacked us?
    Defacto IT guy: Well, So far, we haven’t seen a problem but …
    CEO: How likely is it to be a problem in the next year?
    Defacto IT guy: It could be a problem now but we don’t have the tools to reall….
    CEO: So, what your telling me is that you have no evidence of a problem that we never had before
    Defacto IT guy: Yes, but..

  18. colin says:

    In the past, Larson “mis-treated” (understatement) several Audio Engineers I know. So, when I read Larson was the source of leaked Major Studio content I was quietly pleased. What goes around comes around. And, I don’t believe for a second that Windows 7 or “stumbling” led to the hacking.

  19. MediaSeal is a wonderful solution for protecting proxy video content. The files remain encrypted, yet can be used with most AVID platforms and others.

  20. Barracka Saetoro says:

    Who was the genius who put producion assets on a computer connected to the Internet?

    Oh yeah let’s just blame it on Windows 7.

  21. Barracka Saetoro says:

    “and happened to stumble across an old computer at Larson Studios that was still running Windows 7.” for the Gruber masses. Windows 7 has a firewall. You just had to configure it properly, Einstein.

  22. Sam says:

    Why would anyone with copyright material or personal files keep info on a computer connected to the Internet.
    why keep it all loaded and active on any computer when it can be securely stored on a flash and accessed only when it’s needed, and the individual file that’s needed to work with, on a computer that’s not connected to the Internet.
    The Internet is only for sending correspondence, a highly valuable file should be delivered and signed for in person, or viewed on sight by the contact.
    If a working program is on a flash and being used never loads onto the
    computer. The computer that’s not connected to the internet.

  23. Otto says:

    Clearly no one in IT had input on this story.

    First, as other poster stated, Win7 is not ‘ancient’ and has current patches.

    Second, did they not have a firewall? If not, they were extremely careless x1000. If so, hackers cannot just ‘check the locks’ on a machine behind a properly configured firewall. Someone fell for phishing email scam or a drive-by from malicious web site.

  24. Julia Howe says:

    Professional digital asset manager here.. there are some other take-aways this article doesnt mention:

    – your cybersecurity protocol is only as strong as your weakest link.. which could also be an intern/PA who is constantly being mistreated and working long unpaid hours.

    – have AT LEAST 3 copies of all important data. One local, one remote, one on some kind of cloud database such as Shotgun or MAM system like PIX with built-in delivery mechanisms.

    – You need to hire a DAM specialist. A typical IT guy doesnt neccessarily have the background in media operations, cybersecurity trends for protecting films, or VFX pipeline. Union #871 is a great resource to find experienced DAMs who are available to work on a contractual basis here in LA.

    – This can happen to anyone. Please dont punish small VFX companies for not having the IT infrastructure or specialiats to protect all your data. Help them secure the data to your standards by enforcing best practices and auditing. Have a specialist on your end who enforces these norms and maintains standards for secure delivery.

    • My thought too, Win 7 is current (Providing you have all the updates), if you have that, a decent firewall with a ridiculous password, I don’t believe anyone just trolling is going to look at you. They would have to target you with something they already have like an IP or Mac address and know you have something of value. I’m an old , old, IT guy (NT) but the fundamentals are the same. Am I correct up to date IT gurus?

      • bitmap says:

        Spot on. Windows 7 is quite secure if patched. Network topology behind a firewall is critical for security. Multiple vlans, encrypted data stores and stringent routing rules will make it difficult for someone on the outside to get in. What becomes the weakest point of exposure are the users on the network. Spearfishing attacks against targeted users becomes a concern. If it is a generalized intrusion where the bad guys are looking for targets of opportunity then the odds of compromise go way down in such an environment.

    • Bill Jefferson says:

      I’ve never met a talented techie with so little self-respect that they’d join a union.

  25. nerdrage says:

    Out there in the real world, even among the pirate crowd, there was a lot of poo-poohing of this whole event. People weren’t willing to watch a show they love like Orange in some unfinished form when they could wait a little bit and see the polished product on a service they already subscribe to.

    Subscription streaming is an antidote to piracy because let’s say you pirate Orange. That takes a week to binge-watch, then what? GLOW is coming up, also from Jenji Kohen, looks great. Do you run around and find that too? What about the next thing and the next? At a certain point, it’s just easier to throw a paltry ten bucks at Netflix and have them handle things, especially if you are a grownup with a job, a life, and your time is more valuable than ten bucks per month.

    • Art572 says:

      Well, except if you want to watch Private Eyes or Letterkenny Problems. Netflix doesn’t want to show that to you. The next thing and the next? Download that too. Netflix must be giving you Stock Options for you to plug them here.

  26. E says:

    This is probably the safest place in Hwod to keep your data now.

  27. Imntacrook says:

    Simple use a Mac

    • Barracka Saetoro says:

      Applebot alert.

      I once gave a stupid Applebot a live demo hacking his iPhone but hijacking his web session in a public WiFi network, redirecting traffic and replacing browser content at will.

      Even after that, he said “oh but not everybody is a geek like you”.

      Yes, these Apple zombies are that stupid and ignorant.

    • DurkaDurka says:

      That’s one of the most hilarious statements I’ve ever read.. To think that your network shares are safe on a Mac.. What a fucking retard.

    • nerdrage says:

      I do. And I don’t get complacent because of it, because Macs are not unhackable.

  28. random255 says:

    So someone leaked episodes of Orange is the new black…and it impacted the world in no exceptional way. OK, so what?


    Windows 7 is not “ancient”. Or did they mean XP? Or was their Win7 machine unpatched? MS still has security support until 2020 for Windows 7.

  30. Having complete backups is one thing that is important of course but the 2nd and biggest thing is why were they running their own servers this really stupid. Amazon, Google, Dell, IBM, and a host to other companies run server farms. They have a staff of IT security people to keep an eye on things 24/7, you have multiple backups. Secure VPN tunnels etc. They paid the blackmail of $50K in Bitcoin how much server space would that have purchased.

    • Tommyboy says:

      You realize you are pretty much talking out of your ass about how majority of cloud systems are secured. Most of AWS is IAAS that requires the customer to secure their own servers and practice the same level of security that we would do at home, but with a more redundant network and some additional eyes on obvious breaches. There have been some high profile compromises including a company shuttering its services and they were an IT company, because of poor security practices by the customers on AWS. Dell sold its cloud service. Google’s model is similar to AWS with some additional features mostly built around their legacy suite of tools. IBM has comprehensive product offerings, but most of the time if you are not doing machine learning or data mining you will end up with an expensive version of AWS. Still in all of these you need IT Security professionals to do their job. The security you get from the could provider is not familiar with a customers services enough to determine good or bad traffic other than obvious bad stuff that may or may not be blocked depending on protocol, services targeted and customer configuration. Although your solution may decrease their infrastructure costs, it does not decrease their costs with relation to server management, security auditing or monitoring. At best it protects them from rank amateurs and script kiddies at worst it gives them a false sense of security.

  31. Banana says:

    Truth be told, as painful as breaches are (in Hollywood there are a lot of hours, blood, sweat and tears for these movies) they are wake up calls. They are necessary. Most directors or business owners, hell even regular people, aren’t security minded and don’t want to have to worry about this on top of the myriad of details that are involved in their craft.

    These companies need a dedicated cyber security team or constant audits, if you want to be protected up to today’s standards it will cost you money. Better money than your reputation, that takes years to build and seconds to ruin. Hence this story.

    • I have been a computer engineer since the mainframe era, retired now and glad I am out of it. The biggest problem is getting idiots to listen. They don’t, get hacked and then they have the audacity to blame the person who was trying to get them to operate in a secure fashion in the first place. Amazon Web Services is what I would use. As long as you do your part you are going to be a safe as is possible. paranoia is the name of the game. One thing I don’t do anymore is open email on a PC. I do it on my iPhone 7+ it has full backups it icloud and a local network drive I manually backup to. 2 factor authentication is not safe anymore either. You need to configure your browser so you can see the entire URL so you can see if the site you are on is the real deal not a phish even that is not to be trusted. If you really want to get paranoid checkout the TWiT show Security Now with Steve Gibson.

    • Tommyboy says:

      You are spot on. The industry should look at setting some standards based on NIST RMF or similar frameworks and require security auditing. They need to realize at this point that data is their product and that product loses significant value or could be lost forever if they don’t practice a high-level of security. Hollywood is a big target for many reasons and is only as secure as its weakest link. It would serve them all to help each other remain secure. I attended a security lecture years ago given by a former KGB operative that discussed his methods for getting data. He was able to get data from the trash of sub-contractors on big defense projects. The contractors didn’t protect the other contractors data that they used as well as they did their own and this spy was able to exploit that. In the same vein, state-actor sponsored bad guys have been hacking ancillary systems containing personnel and other data from contractors and gov’t agencies for years. They don’t come knocking down the front door, they enter through the garage windows that was left open and work their way to the inside.

    • The Ranting Geek says:


  32. Rick says:

    And still no mention by any of these “experts” about the best most simple cost effective way to keep your content from being hacked: Store it in an offline hard drive/server

    • Tommyboy says:

      While technically true, your comment shows you don’t really work in the industry or understand the amount of time and money your solution would cost in contrast to other smart security measures. And yes, I’ve worked with totally isolated servers and networks of varying classification and have monitored said networks and secured the servers and services using NIST standards and DoD STIGS. In fact I help write anomaly detection and signature based IDS tools as well as machine learning algorithms for post-mortem analysis of traffic patterns.

      What they need to do is band together with other professionals in their industry and hire some defensive and offensive cyber experts. There is no substitute for 24/7 monitoring from professionals who have experience, training and tools to protect them. I’ve conducted audits for companies that were high-risk targets who would not listen, until one of their peers was popped and they understood the risk was not theoretical. Sounds like Hollywood is ready to listen to the experts now.

    • Yirmin Snipe says:

      Yep, it always boggles the mind that people don’t realize that when a system is cut off from the internet it is as safe as it will ever be with your only threat being physical theft of the hard drives or theft by an employee… Once connected to the internet you are guaranteed to be available to every hacker in the world.

      • Whatevs says:

        Sounds like Hollywood is ready to listen to the experts now.

        The answer is no. All they see is guys like you showing up wringing real money out of them for something that cripples workflow. If something bad did happen, you’d have a handy excuse.

    • Competent IT security people are hard to find, the really good ones are very expensive do it as I said in my other post purchased the service of something like Amazon Web Services.

  33. Sage says:

    We keep saying how stupid lefties are!!! Just plain ignorant. Hollyweird, for a reason.

    • squeesh says:

      Why do you crazy right-wingers always have to make everything into a political slam against left-wingers? Just STFU and stop shoving your political beliefs down everyone else’s throats. And there are both conservatives and liberals in Hollywood—that old, tired, right-wing claim that Hollywood is only liberal is a myth, so get over it already.

    • SteverB says:

      Why does every article’s comments section ALWAYS have to turn into political BS?

    • Julia Howe says:

      It doesnt matter if your rightwing or left leaning.. cybersecurity breaches are like catching a cold. A virus doesnt care whether you support gun rights or voted for Trump. Anyone can accumulate bad luck like this by not auditing their business for threats. The average person doesnt think to reinstall op systems every few months or have air gap security between editorial bays and servers. You need a specialist.

    • Me says:

      What a pompous idiot you are.

      • squeesh says:


        Right-wingers are arrogant, selfish, stupid idiots who suck up to authority and think that the whole world revolves around them, when it really dosen’t. No wonder idiots liek you voted for trumpf—he’s practically a clone of all of you right-wing conspiracy nuts.

      • I Have a small studio, all my duplicating, project files, and printing apparatus is on a box (Offline) and my front PC’s are for mail , surfing type activity, No one gets to the data. Since I only have a few projects going at a time I can copy them from the studio when they’re done on a USB back up drive and dump them into the backup PC in the production room. Agreed, the only safe computer is an offline computer. Saying the cloud is safe is fooling yourself in my opinion, it’s relatively secure, but 100% or even 95% safe, UMmm I’m not sold.

      • krumhorn says:

        Well, wait! Lefties ARE stupid AND vicious little shits to boot…but it’s not relevant to this story in the least.

        – Krumhorn

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