Sony Film Première Pulled As Hack Fallout Continues

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Fallout from devastating hack at Sony Pictures continues as it cancels film première of The Interview

The impact of the devastating computer hack at Sony Pictures continues to reverberate throughout the film industry and indeed the company.

It comes amid the cancellation of the première of the Sony Pictures comedy film ‘The Interview’, and a lawsuit from former Sony Pictures employees.

Devastating Hack

Sony Pictures was hacked in late November by a group calling itself #GOP (Guardians of Peace). GOP is thought to have originated from North Korea, although officials have denied it was behind the hack.

sony ©Kobby Dagan / Shutterstock.comThe attack seemed to be a blackmail attempt, and the hackers exposed the personal details of a number of Hollywood film stars, including their salaries. They also revealed private information about Sony employees and embarrassing internal emails, as well as the scripts to the latest James Bond film, and the digital copies of many Sony Pictures films.

The GOP group is thought to be a highly skilled group of hackers from North Korea, and Sony Pictures seems to have been targeted because its backing for the film, the Interview. The film stars James Franco and Seth Rogen, and is about the assassination of North Korea’s president.

The film première in New York for the Sony Pictures comedy film has now been called, as the cinema chain Landmark that was due to host the screening said it had been cancelled after it was threatened by the GOP hackers.

The hackers reportedly warned people to stay away from cinemas showing the film, and issued a stark reminder of the 11 September hijacked plane attacks on the United States back in 2001.

“We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time,” the hackers were quoted by Reuters as saying. “(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)”

Employee Lawsuit

Meanwhile Sony Pictures Entertainment has also been sued by two former employees in California. The movie studio is accused of allegedly failing to protect Social Security numbers, healthcare records, salaries and other data from the GOP hackers.

Sony Pictures has been hacked before. In 2012, LulzSec hacker Raynaldo Rivera faced a prison sentence after pleading guilty to hacking Sony Pictures.

Sony has been the victim of a number of other attacks as well. In August, Sony’s PlayStation Network was taken offline for several hours by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, that also affected other online gaming networks, including Blizzard’s Battle.net, Grinding Gear Games and Microsoft’s Xbox Live.

Sony’s most serious hack was back in 2011. That attack on the Playstation Network took it offline for a week, and led to the compromise of 77 million users’ credit card details. The damage and fallout however from this new hack could be potentially much worse.

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