Sony Looking Into Possible North Korea Link to Hack Attack

Sony Pictures Entertainment is investigating the possibility that North Korean hackers were behind the attack that took down the studio’s corporate network this week, Variety has confirmed.

However, SPE currently has no evidence that the hack — which has effectively shut down email and other electronic systems since Monday — was perpetrated by individuals or groups with ties to North Korea, according to a source familiar with the situation. A source said the studio is looking into all possible sources of the hack attack.

In the Nov. 24 attack on the studio’s corporate systems, an image of a skeleton appeared on company computers with a message that said, “Hacked by #GOP,” with the group behind it calling itself “Guardians of Peace.” The message threatened to release “secrets and top secrets” of the company, but it’s not known whether any SPE trade secrets have been divulged since then.

Since the attack, some observers have speculated that the SPE network takedown was somehow related to “The Interview,” the studio’s geopolitical spoof starring James Franco and Seth Rogen (pictured above). In the film, slated for Dec. 25 release, Franco is host of latenight talkshow “Skylark Tonight” and Rogen plays his best friend and producer. When the duo secure an interview with Kim Jong-un, the mysterious and ruthless North Korean dictator, they are approached by the CIA and asked to assassinate the Korean leader.

An SPE rep declined to comment. On Tuesday, the studio released a statement that said: “Sony Pictures Entertainment experienced a system disruption, which we are working diligently to resolve.” Automatically generated responses to emails sent to email addresses at SPE as of Saturday still say, “Our email system is currently experiencing a disruption. Please contact the person you wish to reach via office or mobile phone.”

Sony originally skedded “The Interview” for an Oct. 10 bow before moving the release date to Christmas Day 2014. This summer, an unofficial spokesman for North Korea said the movie “shows the desperation of the U.S. government and American society.”

An analysis of the text of a message from “Guardians of Peace,” which has been posted online, has shown that it’s encoded in a format compatible with Chinese and Korean characters. However, security experts cautioned against reading too much into that, noting that hackers frequently plant misinformation to throw off pursuers.

SPE’s investigation into a North Korean connection to the hack was reported Friday by Recode.

More Digital

  • apple AR patent application

    Apple Patents Gesture, Expression Tracking for Mixed Reality Headset

    Apple’s upcoming mixed reality headset could include a number of sensors to track the eyes, gestures and even facial expressions of its users. The company applied for a patent to track these kinds of inputs, and combine them with information gathered from outward-facing sensors for mixed reality experiences. The patent application in question, simply titled [...]

  • Natalie Portman Thor Comic Con

    Comic-Con: Marvel 'Shock and Awe' Strategy Dominates Twitter Buzz

    Disney’s Marvel Studios handily won the hype trophy from this year’s Comic-Con International San Diego. Marvel Studios — which returned to the 2019 Comic-Con stage with a chock-full Phase 4 slate of announcements — dominated the discussion on Twitter out of the convention, capturing the biggest volume of buzz for nine of the top 10 [...]

  • Nigeria’s Kunle Afolayan: African Audiences Shouldn’t

    Nigeria’s Kunle Afolayan: African Audiences Shouldn’t Be ‘Second-Class’

    DURBAN–A young boy from a middle-class home gets an unconventional schooling in the ways of the world when he’s forced to apprentice at a mechanic’s workshop in a rough-and-tumble section of Lagos. “Mokalik” is the latest feature from Kunle Afolayan, a leading figure in the wave of filmmakers revitalizing the Nigerian film industry. The film [...]


    SAG-AFTRA Ends Long Strike Against Ad Agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty

    SAG-AFTRA has ended its 10-month strike against Bartle Bogle Hegarty after the advertising agency agreed to sign the union’s new commercials contract. The union instructed its 160,000 members in September not to accept any work for BBH, which had been signed to SAG-AFTRA’s commercials contracts since 1999. The strike came two weeks after BBH publicly [...]

  • FaceApp is displayed on an iPhone,

    SAG-AFTRA Warns Members About FaceApp Terms of Use

    SAG-AFTRA is warning its 160,000 members about the “overreaching and invasive” terms of use for the FaceApp mobile application. FaceApp, developed by Russian company Wireless Lab, uses neural network technology to automatically generate transformations of faces in photographs. The app can be used to make users appear older, younger, or change gender. The terms include [...]

  • J. Cole

    Apple Music Launches 'Rap Life' Playlist

    Apple Music announced the launch of “Rap Life,” a new global playlist focusing on contemporary rap artists and culture. It replaces the former “The A-List: Hip-Hop” playlist. Said Ebro Darden, Apple Music’s Global Editorial Head of Hip-Hop and R&B: “We flipped it to dig deeper into into the lifestyle [and to] keep pushing the culture [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content