Sony Pictures Suffers Blackmail Hack

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

Sony Pictures network breached just days after Sony’s PlayStation Network was allegedly penetrated

Sony continues to find itself under attack from hackers, with Sony Pictures becoming the latest division to suffer a damaging data breach.

The attack comes just days after a hacker collective known as DerpTrolling claimed that it hacked into Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN). Sony insists there was no breach of PSN.

Blackmail Attempt

But it seems that Sony has now confirmed that Sony Pictures was hacked by #GOP, thought to be a group called Guardians of Peace.

“We are investigating an IT matter,” Sony Pictures Entertainment spokesperson, Jean Guerin, told the Hollywood Reporter, when questioned if the group had been hacked.

The #GOP hack is reportedly widespread and Sony Pictures has apparently ordered all its staff to log off and disconnect their computers while the studio investigates. It is alleged that the #GOP hackers also defaced a number of staff computers, with the following message.

Hacker, cyber crime © Stokkete, Shutterstock 2014“Hacked By #GOP,” reads the message. “Warning: We’ve already warned you, and this is just a beginning. We continue till our request be met. We’ve obtained all your internal data, including your secrets and top secrets. If you don’t obey us, we’ll release data shown below to the world. Determine what will you do till November the 24th, 11:00 PM (GMT).”

It is not clear at this stage what the demands of the group are.

This Sony Pictures hack comes just after a group called DerpTrolling claimed it had hacked into Sony’s PlayStation Network and published the email addresses and passwords of gamers. But Sony claimed that was a hoax.

“We have investigated the claims that our network was breached and have found no evidence that there was any intrusion into our network,” a Sony spokesperson told Joystiq. “Unfortunately, Internet fraud including phishing and password matching are realities that consumers and online networks face on a regular basis. We take these reports very seriously and will continue to monitor our network closely.”

Security Headaches

Sony is having a torrid time of it on the security front. 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.

These recent attacks however pale into insignificance to Sony’s most serious hack, 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.

It proved to be highly damaging for Sony and had a big financial impact on Sony’s results at the time. To add to the pain, Sony was also fined £250,000 by the ICO in the UK, but in July last year it decided not to appeal the penalty on “security grounds.”

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