• Sony Pictures Entertainment’s computer system went totally dead on Monday (Nov 24).
• The ‘Hacked By #GOP’ (Guardians of Peace) with red skull appeared on Sony’s dark computer screens.
• Hackers warned Sony they found confidential corporate secrets which they could leak online.
• Brad Pitt’s “Fury” and remake of “Annie” were leaked online along with three big Sony movies all dated for December release.
• Classified data of Jonah Hill, Angeline Jolie and Cameron Diaz were among the hacked files.
The Story Behind The Drama
It all started in June. Sony provided the world a glimpse of its Dec 25, 2014 comedy treat “The Interview”. Right after, came North Korea’s reaction. The Koreans asked that the movie be shelved. Nobody listened. And in November, Sony’s expectations of fun rather went in a more crushing event. Sony’s computer systems were hacked and five of its big movies reserved for holiday showing were all downloaded right from Sony’s servers. Not good news for Sony but ironically, millions of people around the world are happy. So what happened? Does “The Interview” caused all the damages?
The Movie Plot
“The Interview” is a film of two American TV hosts played by Seth Rogen and James Franco. Because of their show’s extensive popularity, even North Korean leader King Jong Un became a fan. The TV network “Skylark Tonight” producers, however decided to take on a bigger bite by asking the duo to interview the North Korean leader in Pyongyang and further propel up the show. However, the CIA learned about the plan and recruited the two, not actually as journalists but as spies and eventually must kill Kim Jong Un by poisoning him.
The Real Bitter World
In North Korea, however, officers of the Foreign Ministry became so upset moments after learning about the movie. The Voice of America reported that the ministry immediately sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama and asking him to use his powers and stop the release of the film. The request went to empty ears.
The Ministry’s office also sent a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon denouncing the movie as an ‘undisguised sponsoring of terrorism’ and ‘a desperate move that professes an act of war’. Nobody heard what the U.N. did. So without any choice, the North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman went to national TV and blasted the U.S. while swearing that the North Korean government will do “merciless counter-measure” if ever the movie is released.
November 24 – Sony’s servers went all dead. There was total system blackout and the floating red skull appeared on dark computer screens that screamed ‘Hacked By #GOP’.
November 27 – Five digital DVD screeners of Sony movies that are all reserved for December showing unexpectedly showed up on the web and ready for viewing and downloading all for free. These movies are “Annie”, “Mr. Turner”, “Still Alice”, “To Write Love on Her Arms”, and Brad Pitt’s war movie “Fury” which is now on theaters. Hours before their online released, an email was sent to American reporters claiming it comes from “the boss of G.O.P” and with the blatant message “We have much more interesting data than you know”.
On November 30 – “Fury” was reported to have been downloaded 1.2 million times followed by “Annie” 206,000 downloads.
Today, Sony is still investigating the incident. Even the company got paranoid in the event of total system blackout that literally paralyzed its servers on November 24, Sony’s executives are strongly convinced it is North Korea who got a hand in all of these. And in the eyes of the public, this is most likely through courtesy of the movie “The Interview”.
Until now North Korean representatives to the U.N. do not want to comment regarding the cyber attack. Based from Re/code website, there is the possibility that a group from North Korea collaborated with hackers from China in launching the attack. Investigators also said some of the hacking tools that were used in hacking South Korean TV stations and ATMs in 2013 were very similar from the software the Chinese have used.
The FBI is now warning U.S. companies to monitor their servers and systems for any signs of malware attacks that can render hard drives inaccessible. Accordingly, once the destructive malware attack hard drives, the consequence could be costly and the destroyed data may be very difficult to restore.