Sony Pictures is pursuing North Korea as a possible link to the debilitating cyber attack that hit the company earlier this week. The attack in question hit just weeks before the release of Sony’s new film The Interview. Starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, the Sony film tells the story of a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Even though the film is a comedy, the country recently called the movie “evil,” told the United Nations it was “an act of war,” and pledged “merciless retaliation” against the U.S. and other nations if the film is released. From Recode:
Sony and outside security consultants are actively exploring the theory that the hack may have been carried out by third parties operating out of China on North Korea’s behalf. The sources stress that a link to North Korea hasn’t been confirmed, but has not been ruled out, either.
The hackers, operating under the name “Guardians of Peace,” or #GOP, left an image bearing a message on the computers screens of Sony employees Monday morning. The message threatened to release sensitive data supposedly stolen from Sony servers if certain demands were not met.
On Wednesday, some of those files were said to have leaked on the Web by way of a thread on Reddit, though their veracity hasn’t been independently confirmed. The attack is said to have locked Sony Pictures employees out of their computers entirely, forcing them to resort to pen and paper to do their jobs.
This isn’t the first time North Korea was connected to attacks such as this. Last year, the regime was said to be behind a financial attack against two South Korean TV broadcast networks that also debilitated the country’s network of ATM machines.
One’s got to wonder though, is this is the work of 3rd party hackers working on Kim Jong Un’s behalf or is this one big ploy by Sony Pictures Entertainment to maintain the buzz behind the imminent theatrical release of The Interview? Either way, you know it’s newsworthy when Sony employees are forced to pick up a pen and paper to get their work done.