On November 24, Hollywood publications reported that Sony Pictures’ computers were breached and sent an ominous warning message, which read: “We already warned you, and this is just a beginning. We continue till our request be met. We’ve obtained all of your internal data including your secrets and top secrets. If you don’t obey us, we’ll release the data shown below to the world.”
The attackers signed off the warning with “#GOP” and a group calling itself “Guardians of Peace” took credit for the attack which the company is still recovering from. It caused major problems with the company’s computer systems and crippled email.
Following the hack a leak of at least five new Sony movies appeared online on copyright-infringing file-sharing sites. The leak included “Fury,” the new Brad Pitt war film that is still in cinemas and Sony’s upcoming remake of the musical “Annie,” which is not due for release until December 19. While it has not been confirmed if the film leak was related to the cyber-attack, the timing certainly appears to be in line with it.
According to a variety of reports Sony and law enforcement officials are now investigating if North Korea was responsible for the hacking. The studio is about to release “The Interview,” a comedy about an attempted assassination of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, starring James Franco and Seth Rogen.
CNN reported in June that in response to the film’s trailer, North Korea accused the United States of “bribing a rogue movie maker” to produce it and a foreign ministry spokesman said, “Those who defamed our supreme leadership and committed the hostile acts against the DPRK (North Korea) can never escape the stern punishment to be meted out according to a law wherever they might be in the world.”
On December 1 the BBC reported that when asked about the cyber-attack, a spokesman for North Korea’s UN mission said: “The hostile forces are relating everything to the DPRK. I kindly advise you to just wait and see.”
A Sony Pictures spokesperson said in a statement, “the theft of Sony Pictures Entertainment content is a criminal matter, and we are working closely with law enforcement to address it.”
On November 29, show business magazine Variety reported that piracy-tracking firm Excipio said “Fury” was downloaded by over 888,000 unique IP addresses since showing up on peer-to-peer networks on Nov. 27.