Sony Pictures Blindsided by WikiLeaks Document Dump

Sony Pictures Hacking Scandal

Just when Sony Pictures thought it was done with the devastating hacking attack that brought the studio to its knees last winter, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks published thousands of internal documents and correspondence  — totally blindsiding the studio and its public relations team early Thursday.

Not only has Assange brought more unwelcome attention to one of the most painful chapters in Sony’s history, WikiLeaks has made the correspondence readily searchable and accessible.

Sony is still weighing its legal options, which may be limited given that Assange and his compatriots have built their reputation on exposing secret documents, emails and videos.

Many of the Sony emails and financial information had been previously combed over last winter when a group calling itself Guardians of Peace first unleashed reams of documents, yet the scale of the hack is so vast that it is likely more unwanted details of the inner workings of the troubled Hollywood studio will make their way into the public square.

In its press release Thursday, WikiLeaks drew attention to Sony’s fundraising efforts on behalf of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and its support for anti-piracy efforts, two areas that were little covered in the immediate aftermath of the attack. Those reports tended to focus more on ousted studio chief Amy Pascal and her executive team’s candid thoughts about top talent such as Angelina Jolie, Will Smith and Leonardo DiCaprio, with few detours into geopolitics.

Previously, Sony’s legal team tried unsuccessfully to go after press outlets that reported on the emails and documents — an approach that is unlikely to work with Assange, a provocateur who is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and fighting extradition to Sweden.

Cybersecurity experts tell Variety that the new revelations demonstrate the vulnerability that all corporations face when it comes to cyber-attacks and the difficulty in cleaning up after a breach of this magnitude.

“Sony may be the victim today, but Google may be the victim tomorrow, and the question is how do you stop the dissemination of this kind of material,” said Hemanshu Nigam, CEO of online safety and security firm SSP Blue.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 12

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Guest says:

    Sony is extremely corrupt, hires completely incompetent employees like Pascal, and bribes the US government with their donations. No wonder why Obama, FBI, and government were so incensed by the hacking. Good for Julian and Wikileaks for exposing them. That film never should have been made. Shame on the government for being involved in and approving the film. Sony played with fire, got too close to the flame, and deservingly reaped what they sowed.

  2. Dasha says:

    Julian Assange’s argument is moronic! What’s he gonna do next, post up all those celeb nude leaks?? I mean, they’re already out there one could argue, right? In the same way perpetuating the sharing of those photos is illegal (and for good reason!), this is not right!! I doubt there’s anything criminal in most of these emails. Just personal stuff. Stuff that people should have the right to keep private. Sure, maybe the privacy has already been lost. But I know that I would’ve never bothered searching the internet & uploading obscure files to read those emails. I have to say, WikiLeaks has done society a lot of good. But in terms of government, people have to right to know what their government is doing. Because democracy means people owning their government. Like here in America. It’s our government. And it is our RESPONSIBILITY as good citizens to know what’s going on in our government. But in terms of the Sony Hack, what WikiLeaks is doing just creepy as heck. And it’s not like he’s revealing crime or anything. He’s revealing some gossip. Which I may not be a fan of. But what people want to say in private is none of my business & should remain btw them and God. But he’s also revealing some private business dealing. What if Assange’s idea for wikileaks or wikipedia was exposed to everyone and someone stole his claim to fame?! How would he feel?! Or rather, how would YOU feel JULIAN?! As I’m sure that you, Julian, are reading these comments as what else do you really have to do in the tiny Ecuadorian embassy :)

    But the thing worst of all is how this is revealing people’s personal emails in which they are at time revealing their innermost insecurities. A friend told me about one of Amy Pascal’s emails and it was just heartbreaking. If you’re reading Amy, don’t worry about you weight Amy. All girls feel like that! But you’re gorgeous. And though you may’ve said some regrettable things, you’ve also said really sweet things. And you were so nice to me when I met you in person!!

    P.S. Everybody makes mistakes guys. Everybody says things that they regret & hear hope nobody ever hears. But should everything wrong you’ve done erase all the good you’ve done??! NO! I mean, Amy’s adopted kids and how many people are willing to do something so selfless!! Value the good in people and encourage them to do better, because there’s so much food in everyone.

  3. Think about it says:

    If you saw someone kill a person would you expose them? If you saw someone write a letter about killing a person, would you expose them? If you saw a letter exposing murder that someone stole from the person’s mailbox, would you share it with police?

    The point here is wether the information wiki leaks has posted is doing a public good by exposing crime. This is not about privacy or how you feel about the sanctity of your personal emails. If crime or corruption is exposed then good on wiki leaks. If not, then shame on him.

    We will soon see.

    • TruthIsGravey says:

      I agree on the notion or theory of what you said if it prevents a crime then I’m all for it. It will be an effort with the likes of “whistle blowing.”

      But in the case of Sony Picture, the entity that is a small part of the mulitnational Sony corporation. I don’t know how much good will this be for general public as their business model is entertainment where the dealings and impact don’t necessary cause that much damage to the general public and society. Only if they work as an agent to produce propaganda films/tvs/videos for non-friendly regimes and such. I think such a use of tactic to leak information of a company is better suite for companies that affect all of us like military, food, pharmaceutical, gas/oil, finance and fields like those mentioned where they can cause will change and paradigm globally. Like said the IMF or the World Bank where they really could hold hostage of develop country into debts that they can’t never pay back.

      Too bad, we didn’t get around a WiKi leak during the financial crisis of ’08, I think those type of target field is more fruitful than say what happen to Sony Picture.

  4. Sharon-marie says:

    I am so very happy in many ways we have Julian on this planet at this time he has dedicated himself to truth,and knowledge has been shared from the beginning of time in storytelling fashion our storytelling fashion is as taught from generations ago share knowledge ! A Government can do any god damed thing they choose to you! Now there ‘drivers’ get the lesson – in act corrupt be corrupt you speak corruption you will be exposed at some time in some space. All whom disagree have too much to hide for they too are corrupted.

  5. Dick Assange says:

    Please, please, please sue/extradite Assange. There is absolutely no logical/meaningful/publicly beneficial reason for this to be released.

  6. Andrew Houde says:

    Assange hasn’t had enough publicity lately so he kicked the poor dog Sony while it was down. They should have had the decency to not publish private information, but what do you expect from Snowden’s buddy I guess.

  7. There is SO MUCH personal information in there. Home phone numbers, Cell phone numbers, private phone numbers, addresses of employees and their family members and much more. What a mess.

  8. John says:

    Sony Pics nearly did cause a nuclear war between North Korea & USA und you wanna tell me, that we have no right to know what was going on at Sony ? I wanna know why this film was produced in the first place and why an entertainment company has ties to RAND. I really wanna know…

  9. H Howard says:

    What an incredibly corrupt company- paying favors to RAND, a military company, and illegally collecting money to support politicians who will pay the favor back with policy changes. Good on wikileaks for helping expose their disgusting behavior

  10. dtich says:

    assange is such a little d*ck. i don’t find this necessary information for public consumption, i think sony has been chagrined and pained enough over this. i’m sure there are interesting tidbits in the trove, and maybe a few things of relevance to corporate citizenship, but i don’t think it was necessary to reopen this wound. honestly. imho.

More Film News from Variety