A cyberattack of unknown origin last month left Sony Picture’s internal network and email effectively useless, forcing employees in Hollywood to use pen and paper to go about their workdays. Hackers leaked documents concerning salaries, passwords and other sensitive information onto the Internet alongside five films, four of which are unreleased.
The attack was perpetrated by a group identifying itself as the Guardians Of Peace. The Federal Bureau of Investigation believes that North Korea is behind it. The speculation is that Pyongyang doesn't want a certain American movie to be released and is lashing out against the studio responsible.
"The Interview," which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco, follows two television journalists who travel to North Korea to interview Kim Jong Un. Before the two can get to the country, the CIA recruits them to take advantage of their access and assassinate the quirky and controversial leader. North Korean authorities issued a formal complaint to the United Nations surrounding the movie.
There are a number of similarities between this attack and former attacks attributed to the country. Hackers have compromised servers in Thailand and Poland to deploy a wiping malware that destroys data on hard drives. These methods have been seen before in North Korean cyberwarfare efforts against South Korea, and a 2014 report by Hewlett-Packard pegs the country's "Unit 121," a cyberweapons division of the military started in 1998, as being entirely capable of such high-level attacks.
While the leaks of private company data are certainly damaging, there's no such thing as bad publicity — "The Interview" is sure to drum up all kinds of interest from the moviegoing public as it learns the film is embroiled in international intrigue.