On November 24th, 2014, the Guardians of Peace, otherwise known as the “#GOP,” hacked into Sony Pictures computer systems, stealing information, posting rants from Sony’s various social network accounts, defacing their website, and disabling their computer systems. The stolen information has been posted across the internet. Part of the stolen content includes five films: four unreleased, and one currently in theaters. “Fury,” the Brad Pitt film currently in theaters, was one of the movies illegally released and it has been illegally downloaded more than 1.2 million times (Variety). “Annie,” the upcoming reboot of the classic musical, was among the released films and has been pirated more than 200,000 times. While it’s still a large number, it’s nothing compared to that of “Fury”.
Social Security Numbers, home addresses, and salaries of employees were among the information stolen and released by the hackers. 47,000 social security numbers were released. Among those social security numbers are Sylvester Stallone’s, Judd Apatow’s, and Rebel Wilson’s. After looking at the salary information, Sony Pictures is under scrutiny considering that 16 of the 17 top paid executives, each making over $1 million per year, were men. Of the 16 male executives, 14 are white men (Daily Mail).
Speculation recently began that North Korea was involved in the cyber attack. Sony Pictures is coming out with a movie later this month starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, called “The Interview.” The film pokes fun at Kim Jong-un and North Korea. Earlier in the year, North Korea expressed their outrage regarding the film. The North Korean foreign ministry spokesperson is quoted saying, “The act of making and screening such a movie that portrays an attack on our top leadership … is a most wanton act of terror and act of war, and is absolutely intolerable” (Huffington Post). Furthermore, the spokesperson continued by stating that a “resolute and merciless response” will ensue if the film is not banned.
Last year, North Korea hacked into three South Korean banks, which kept people from accessing the money in their accounts, and into two popular broadcasters (New York Times). There are striking similarities between this hack and the cyber attack on Sony Pictures.
Many are speculating that the Sony Pictures hack is the threatened “merciless response”; however, there is no definite evidence to prove it was in fact North Korea that carried out the hack.