Earlier this week, news broke that Disney was being extorted by hackers who were threatening to release an upcoming film, reportedly ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.’
This prompted pirates and reporters to watch torrent sites for copies of the film, and after a few hours the first torrents did indeed appear.
The initial torrent spotted by TF was just over 200MB, which is pretty small. As it turned out, the file was fake and linked to some kind of survey scam.
Fake torrents are quite common and even more so with highly anticipated releases like a “Pirates Of The Caribbean” leak.
Soon after the fist fake, another one followed, this one carrying the name of movie distribution group ETRG. After the first people downloaded a copy, it quickly became clear that this was spam as well, and the torrent was swiftly removed from The Pirate Bay.
Unfortunately, however, some reporters confused the fake releases with the real deal. Without verifying the actual content of the files, news reports claimed that Pirates Of The Caribbean had indeed leaked.
“Hackers Dump Pirates of the Caribbean On Torrent Sites Ahead of Premiere,” Softpedia reported, followed by the award-winning security blog Graham Cluley who wrote that the “New Pirates of the Caribbean movie leaked online.”
The latter was also quick to point to a likely source of the leak. Hacker group The Dark Overlord was cited as the prime candidate, even though there were no signs linking it to the leak in question. This is off for a group that regularly takes full public credit for its achievements.
News site Fossbytes also appeared confident that The Dark Overlord was behind the reported (but fake) leaks, pretty much stating it as fact.
“The much-awaited Disney movie Pirates Of The Caribbean 5 Dead Men Tell No Tales was compromised by a hacker group called TheDarkOverlord,” the site reported.
Things got more confusing when the torrent files in question disappeared from The Pirate Bay. In reality, moderators simply removed the spam, as they usually do, but the reporters weren’t convinced and speculated that the ‘hackers’ could have reuploaded the files elsewhere.
A few hours later another ‘leak’ appeared on The Pirate Bay, confirming these alleged suspicions. This time it was a 54GB file which actually had “DARK-OVERL” in the title.
Soon after the torrent appeared online someone added a spam comment suggesting that it had a decent quality. One of the reporters picked this up and wrote that “comments indicate the quality is quite high.”
Again, at this point, none of the reporters had verified that the leaks were real. Still, the news spread further and further.
TorrentFreak also kept an eye on the developments and reached out to a source who said he’d obtained a copy of the 54GB release. This pirate was curious, but didn’t get what he was hoping for.
The file in question did indeed contain video material, he informed us. However, instead of an unreleased copy of the Pirates Of The Caribbean 5, he says he got several copies of an animation movie – Trolls…..
“Turns out, the iso contains a couple of .rar files that house a bunch of Trolls DVDs. I hope everyone learned their lesson, if it’s too good to be true it probably is.”
Indeed it is.
In the spirit of this article we have to stress that we didn’t verify the contents of the (now deleted) “Trolls” torrent ourselves. However, it’s clear that the fake leaks trolled several writers and pirates.
We reached out to Softpedia reporter Gabriela Vatu and Graham Cluley, who were both very receptive to our concerns and updated the initial articles to state that the leaks were not verified.
Let’s hope that this will stop the rumors from spreading any further.