Attackers target entertainment company to bend the company to their will

Synopsis

Throughout November and December 2014, the company suffered a series of cyber attacks disabling their computer systems, releasing heretofore unreleased films on file-sharing hubs and revealing employees' personal information and data such as employee emails, salaries, addresses and Social Security Numbers.

Hackers calling themselves "Guardians of Peace" claimed responsibility, displaying their own messages and seizing control of promotional Twitter accounts. At the attack's height, the hackers leaked new information about the company every day.

Of particular note, full email repositories of two company executives were released. After individuals searched through the executive's emails, there were several embarrassing revelations about the US President. The executives issued public apologies.

The attack was linked to North Korea, in part because of a comedy film the company were due to release about two journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate the North Korean leader. The Pyongyang government denounced the film as "undisguised sponsoring of terrorism, as well as an act of war" in a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and promised "decisive and merciless countermeasure" if "the US administration tacitly approves or supports" the comedy.

In February 2021, the Department of Justice indicted three North Koreans accused of perpetrating this attack.

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Analyst

Courtenay Brammar

Experienced global enterprise risk and governance professional. Previously Vice President at Morgan Stanley, Deloitte Risk Advisory practitioner and PRMIA steering committee member in both London and New York.

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Companies

  • Sony Corporation

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