ORIGINAL STORY: 12/12/14
Last week Sony admitted to having suffered a major cybersecurity breach; hackers not only erased data from its systems, but also stole, and released to the public, pre-release movies, people’s private information, sensitive documents and racist emails about the President of the United States.
Who are these hackers and what do they want?
They call themselves the G.O.P, "Guardians of Peace."
Under US law the attack certainly seems like a crime, which is why the FBI is involved. But, some think the perpetrators may be foreign. North Koreans – either working for their government or in support of its positions.
Sony is a logical target as it has been preparing to release a movie, “The Interview,” that various North Koreans have stated they find offensive. North Korea officials deny that they have any involvement but at the same time they're rejoicing over the security breach, calling the hacking "a righteous deed of the supporters and sympathizers [of] the DPRK," which condemned the movie.
The North Korean gov. filed a formal complaint with the U.N. over the James Franco/Seth Rogen flick "The Interview" -- which is all about assassinating Kim Jong Un -- calling it an "act of war."
The hackers have threatened to continue the leaks unless Sony pulls the upcoming movie, "The Interview" and have issued this statement...
We've got great damage by Sony Pictures. The compensation for it, monetary compensation we want. Pay the damage, or Sony Pictures will be bombarded as a whole. You know us very well. We never wait long. You'd better behave wisely. From God'sApstls
Since the start of this hack, a variety of information and emails have been leaked, demoralizing Sony’s employees and thereby reducing their productivity, instilling fear in Sony’s employees and causing celebrities to fear working with Sony. This creates opportunities for employees and others to potentially sue Sony, are all tactics intended to seriously hurt Sony, which seems to be the primary goal of this attack.
Here are some interesting things we found out from this hack and how SONY really feels:
- Sylvester Stallone’s Social Security number, among over 40,000 others, are now available for anyone.
- Of the studio's 17 seven-figure U.S. earners, nearly all are white and only one of them is a woman.
- Some celebs use the silliest names for aliases. The alter egos of Tom Hanks ("Harry Lauder," "Johnny Madrid"), Jessica Alba ("Cash Money"), and Natalie Portman ("Lauren Brown"), among others were leaked.
- Some SONY Executives are RACISTS. In emails between Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal and famed producer, Scott Rudin, before meeting the President, they jokingly posited what Obama’s favorite movies might be... like Django Unchained and 12 Years a Slave. The two were said to conclude, “I bet he likes Kevin Hart.”
- In an another email, between the same exects, they called Angelina Jolie a “minimally talented, spoiled brat.” "I'm not destroying my career over a minimally talented spoiled brat who thought nothing of shoving this off her plate for 18 months so she could go direct a movie."
- Studio exec, Clint Culpepper reportedly sent several emails to other studio heads complaining about Kevin Hart, calling him a "whore," after he made $3 million followed by $4 million for his most recent Sony flicks, then when he was asked to tweet about Think Like A Man Too, his agent requested more money.
- The exec then wrote that they should potentially call his bluff, “I’m tempted to suggest we call his bluff. If he doesn’t do his normal routine, his film will not open as well and his brand will appear diminished and he will — in fact — be f***ing himself because we have his next 2 immediate films.”
- Employee emails reveal, even thought Adam Sandler makes them a whole lot of money, they do not like his movies. "There is a general "blah-ness" to the films we produce. Although we manage to produce an innovative film once in awhile, Social Network, Moneyball, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, we continue to be saddled with the mundane, formulaic Adam Sandler films."
- Private emails between Mark Cuban and his counsel about his "Shark Tank" show deals revealed.
- According to the September emails, Robert Hart tells Cuban he would receive $30,000 per episode for season 5, $31,200 for season 6, and $32,488 for season 7.
- In addition, the terms of the "Shark Tank" deal would "further prevent" Cuban from "exploiting various aspects from the show'... ABC also wants rights to Cuban's "catchphrases ... nicknames, gestures, utterances, etc.," something Cuban is advised to "push back on."
- Cubans' response? "Seriously? No chance... this is beyond an insult and it shows no one cares about the investments I have made or the entrepreneurs. Now it's really business..I will negotiate like any other deal I would do...you may want to start cutting me out of the promos"
- Since these email leaks, SONY has apologized but it doesn't seem like this is going to be over anytime soon. The hackers still have plenty more information to look over and leak.
SONY was warned of this...
Almost a decade ago, Sony was warned about potential deficiencies in its information security program, including the use of weak passwords. In 2011, Sony suffered a major breach of its Playstation network. Were adequate changes put into place since then? How well did Sony actually protect its data if hackers managed to steal a treasure trove of materials including unreleased movies – perhaps the crown jewels of Sony’s data assets requiring protection – as well as highly-confidential documents including salary schedules, lists of social security numbers, and even private, sometimes embarrassing, communications? Was everything stored in a properly encrypted format, with people given access to only those materials that they needed in order to perform their jobs? We may never know the answers to these questions. Some of the documents leaked, however, seem to show that Sony employees were using weak passwords and that poor data management policies were in place, raising questions about how much the firm actually learned from its experiences. Data belonging to another firm may also have been inappropriately stored on Sony computers. Was that the result of poor policy or poor enforcement? One must also wonder: how did the malware enter Sony’s infrastructure in the first place? Was human error a factor?
Consider how difficult it is to sneak into a Sony executive’s office or onto the set of a movie Sony is producing. Did Sony treat its data security with the same level of concern as it does physical security?
(Sources: Forbes/ TMZ/ Business Insider)