Netflix isn’t alone: Agencies and others are balancing demands for money against the fears of stolen data ending up online. Phones are the lifeblood of a talent agency like UTA, but on April 11, its IT department discovered an intruder lurking in the voicemail system and computer network and quickly decided to shut them down, sending agents to conduct business on their iPads. Soon thereafter a demand from a hacker arrived: Pay a ransom or watch the agency’s most confidential data get posted online.
It turns out UTA was lucky — an outside cybersecurity firm was brought in and, after conducting a forensic analysis, determined that nothing valuable had been pilfered. But the episode was one of at least a half-dozen extortion attempts against Hollywood firms over the past six months alone, say sources in the cybersecurity industry. Mirroring the audacity of the famed Bling Ring, the recent spate of strikes has left executives throughout the entertainment industry on edge, fearing that they — and all of their emails, contracts, celebrity addresses, READ MORE