Sony Pictures, the entertainment division of Japanese media conglomerate Sony has had two major blows in less than a week. Last week, all the computers at the Sony Pictures division were hacked, and late last night, screener copies of several of its upcoming movies leaked on torrent sites. There have been several developments in this hacking incident, and it could get a bit overwhelming to keep a track of everything. Here s a timeline of all that has happened since the news of hacking got out.
GOP hacks Sony Pictures
Last week, several Sony employees working at the Pictures division reported that their computers were displaying an image of a skeleton. It did not take long before for the company to realize that its network had been breached. As a precautionary move, it asked all the employees to go home and not try to connect to the company s network.
A hacker group named Guardians of Peace or #GOP took responsibility for the attack, and threatened to release sensitive data it had stolen from Sony network if its demands were not met. At this point, it isn t known what exactly did the hackers asked from Sony, but whatever it was, it seems Sony didn t fulfill it as the hackers leaked the sensitive information. The zip files that hackers released had sensitive records, password files, and several podcast files (podcast files suggest that it was taken from an employee s computer).
Last night at least five new movies from Sony Pictures were leaked to torrent sites. The list of movies included Brad Pit-starrer Fury, which was released last month, and four other Sony movies namely Annie, Mr. Turner, Still Alice, and To Write Love on Her Arms that are yet to hit the big screen.
A Sony spokeswoman said in a statement that “The theft of Sony Pictures Entertainment content is a criminal matter, and we are working closely with law enforcement to address it.”
The copies that have been spotted on the file sharing sites contain Sony s watermark. It s a common practice for a company to have screener versions of their upcoming movies with them before the release, as it often comes in handy during award reviews.
While the company s IT consultants are still trying to get to the bottom of the scenario, it is possible that these movies were also stolen by the #GOP. According to a report, the hackers took as much as 1,100GB worth of data from Sony computers.
North Korea connection
This may take some time to sink, but there is actually a possibility that North Korean regime is behind this attack. Sony is about to release The Interview, a comedy title starring Seth Rogen and James Franco. The movie is about two celebrity journalists, who visit North Korea to interview Kim Jong-Un, the Supreme leader of the nation. These journalists then get assigned by the CIA to kill him.
North Korea is utterly against the release of this movie, as it finds it an act of war , it said in a letter sent to United Nations. North Korea has a knack for threatening others when it doesn t like something or feels insulted.
Sony hires FireEye Inc s Mandiant
According to a Reuters report, the movies and TV shows arm of Sony has tapped the security firm FireEye Inc s Mandiant for help to combat any further hacks. Additionally, U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is also working on the matter, sources told the publication.