If you ever needed encouragement to upgrade from Windows 7, being held ransom for $A178,000 (NZ$186,000) should do the trick.

This was the lesson learnt by the company responsible for allowing unreleased episodes of Orange Is the New Black to be obtained and then leaked by hacker s earlier this year.

In a candid interview, Larson Studios chief engineer David Dondorf explained how the audio post-production business allowed The Dark Overlord to gain access to the Netflix original content.

After hiring private data security experts to find where the company was breached, it was discovered the hacker had been searching the internet for PCs running older versions of Windows and stumbled across an old computer at Larson Studios still running Windows 7.


"They were basically just trolling around to see if they could find a computer that they could open," he told Variety. "It wasn't aimed at us."

Released in October 2009, Windows 7 has long been a barely acceptable operating system until earlier this year when Microsoft announced it was stopping support for the ageing platform completely due to a number of serious failings including security deficiencies.

"Today, [Windows 7] does not meet the requirements of modern technology, nor the high security requirements of IT departments," the company wrote.

Obviously Larson Studios missed the memo.

Rick Larson first learnt of the hack after an unknown number sent a couple short text messages to the he and his wife Jill's mobile phones two days before Christmas last year.

"We didn't really think much of them," he said.

After getting a more sinister message on Christmas Eve, Mr Larson was slightly more troubled but still refused to take the threat too seriously.

"Why are you ignoring me, check your email for a message that will change your life," the message read.


On Christmas Day, the seriousness of the situation became apparent when Larson learnt he had been responsible for Hollywood's biggest security breach since the Sony Pictures hack of 2014.

Director of digital systems Chris Unthank was quickly called to check on the system and learnt the hackers had stolen and deleted all of the company's data.

"Once I was able to look at our server, my hands started shaking, and I almost threw up," he said.

The Dark Overlord approached the company with a ransom demand of 50 bitcoin or $A178,000.

Despite confirming the hack was authentic, the business didn't immediately meet the ransom demand.

"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 co-operate and buy time," explained Jill Larson.

After doing background research, Mr Larson discovered the hacking group's previous targets were successful in stopping a leak by paying the ransom.

"They would return the materials, destroy the materials, and it was over. This was the way they work," he said.

Obviously, the demands were met.

"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," he explained.

After making 19 individual payments to the hacker, the company thought it was in the clear.

"That obviously is not what played out," he said.

Soon after, another email from the Dark Overlord arrived, explaining they had leaked the content because the studio had gone to the FBI and broken the terms of the agreement.

"They decided to punish us," he said.