The hack was reported at the end of November and resulted in many movies that had not been released to be spread on the web. Many companies over the last year and a half have suffered from the embarrassment of hacking, but the threats to employees’ families have brought this incident to the forefront of the investigations, as this is a new twist never seen before.
The message in full has not been released, but the message would indicate that the organization responsible is not above possible violence. It starts by threatening Sony itself and moves into personal threats to those who work there.
Here are excerpts obtained by Variety:
“Removing Sony Pictures on earth is a very tiny work for our group which is a worldwide organization. And what we have done so far is only a small part of our further plan…”
“Many things beyond imagination will happen at many places of the world. … Please sign your name to object the false of the company at the email address below if you don’t want to suffer damage. If you don’t, not only you but your family will be in danger.”
Sony has yet to verify the authenticity of the message.
However, the group claiming responsibility for the hack is not ducking out of the limelight in light of these threats. The Guardians of Peace (GOP) are a self proclaimed counter insurgency group out of Burundi in Africa, which accounts for the broken English of the message.
The GOP have spent the last week dumping over 47,000 pieces of personal information onto file sharing servers, including social security numbers, health records and addresses of not only employees, but some celebrities and minor royalty – leaving them all open for identity theft. Other sensitive information has also been leaked including passwords, encryption keys, passport numbers and immigration documents.
As there is no way to prove who sent the message, law enforcement is also looking to other sources for the hack. Sony has been wildly slashing and rearranging their corporate structure to answer to stockholders. One major shareholder in particular – Daniel Loeb. He sees the entire organization as mismanaged through lack of accountability and financial controls.
The budgetary cutbacks may have allowed the hack to occur, and it is not the first hack that Sony has experienced recently. So, maybe they could “risk” spending more money in the IT and security departments, regardless of the cutbacks in other arenas?
(Photo courtesy of Ian Muttoo)