Swedish writer targeted in advanced hacker attack

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A scene from the movie "”The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”.
Foto: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Sweden
Writer Jonas Jonasson
Foto: ANNA-KARIN NILSSON / ANNA-KARIN NILSSON EXPRESSEN

Jonas Jonasson, the Swedish author who wrote the widely acclaimed book ”The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” has been targeted in an advanced hacker attack where someone tried to steal the manuscript to the sequel.

The attempt was made using an advanced proxy server and designed so that the author would be fooled to send the manuscript to someone claiming to be his agent.

– It would have been a disaster if it came out, Jonas Jonasson said.

The book "The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” was sold in ten million copies in 45 countries after it was first published in 2009, and later turned into a movie. 

The manuscript to the sequel is almost completed.

The Swedish author Jonas Jonasson's international agent Carina Brandt is currently in the process of selling the new book worldwide.

– The international bidding on Jonas’ follow-up has already begun. The interest is huge, she says.

The hacker attack started with a fake email from Brandt to Jonasson, where he was asked to send her the manuscript, that was not yet completed, for her to use in the sales process.

 Jonasson replied that he needed two more weeks to finish the work.

– It was incredibly close that I gave away all the unfinished work to someone out there, somewhere in the world. Someone who is Swedish. It went so far that I responded and got the answer of someone I still thought was my agent, Jonason says.

Case filed with the police

He never sent the manuscript by email. After talks with Brandt and Jonasson's publisher Piratförlaget, it became clear that they were targeted in an advanced attempt to steal the book.

The hacker attack was done using a modified reply email address that went to a foreign proxy server to avoid tracking.

– It's very cleverly done by people who know what they're doing, Brandt says.

Carina Brandt, who is based in Barcelona, Spain, has since reported the attack to the Spanish police.

– Anyone who wants to hurt me could really do that by translating the script and publishing it online, Jonasson says.

The new book is scheduled to be published during 2018.

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