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FBI Investigates Hack into Sony Pictures Corporate Network

FBI Investigates Hack into Sony Pictures Corporate Network

A hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) corporate network appears to have resulted in a major data breach.


This article originally appeared at The WHIR

A hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) corporate network last week appears to have resulted in a major data breach, and the FBI confirmed it is investigating. Several movie titles, most of them yet to be released, have appeared on file-sharing websites, according to the Associated Press, though a direct connection to the hack has not yet been established.

Portions of the internal network at SPE were knocked offline after employees received an image which said they had been “Hacked by #GOP,” which is reported to stand for “Guardians of Peace.” An image reported to be the one seen by employees has been posted to Imgur. That image includes claims that the hack had yielded “all your Internal data” (sic) including “secrets and top secrets,” and threatens to release data. It also says “We continue till our request be met” (sic), suggesting that the malicious actors hacking skills far outpace their English language ones. Corporate email services remained down over the weekend.

Sony responded in a statement to Variety. “Sony Pictures continues to work through issues related to what was clearly a cyber attack last week. The company has restored a number of important services to ensure ongoing business continuity and is working closely with law enforcement officials to investigate the matter.”

Yet to be released films Annie, Still Alice, To Write Love on Her Arms, and Mr. Turner, as well as Fury, which is currently in theaters, have all appeared online since the attack. Other data speculated to have been lost to hackers includes employee passwords, salary and compensation information for thousands of employees, including executives, and even pirated content possibly downloaded by an employee.

The leading suspect in the attack in the media, if not in the FBI investigation, is North Korea. Sony is set to release The Interview on Christmas day, a movie depicting a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. North Korea called the movie an “act of war” and promised “stern” and “merciless” retaliation. Variety reports that this is only one of several possibilities being investigated.

The FBI is joined in the investigation by Mandiant. Mandiant’s credentials in tracking international hackers were reinforced in 2013 when it identified China’s “Unit 61398” as a cyber-espionage group responsible for numerous attacks.

The Sony Entertainment Network and PlayStation Network were knocked offline by a DDoS attack in August, with a group called “Lizard Squad” taking responsibility and issuing a bomb threat. Not only has Lizard Squad not been identified and charged, it also took down Xbox LIVE on Monday, according to GameZone.

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