North Korea has denied involvement in the recent cyberattack on Sony Pictures, which saw films like Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner, Fury (starring Brad Pitt, above) and Annie leaked and details of top executives’ pay published online, while another unrelated attack has hit Sony’s Playstation network.
Millions of people have now watched the films online in what is believed to be a retaliation by North Korea against the upcoming Sony-produced comedy The Interview, which depicts an attempted assassination attempt on head of state Kim Jong-Un.
The North Korean regime has denounced the film as “an evil act of provocation against our highly dignified republic and an insult against our righteous people,” with North Korea’s UN ambassador Ja Song Name describing it as “the most undisguised sponsoring of terrorism as well as an act of war.”
This morning Sony was targeted for a second time with visitors to their PlayStation store greeted by the words “Page Not Found! It’s not you. It’s the internet’s fault”. Sony has acknowledged the issue and says they are investigating. It’s believed to be unrelated to the previous attack and a group called Lizard Squad have claimed responsibility in a tweet:
The FBI is currently assisting Sony Pictures with the investigation into the first cyberattack. The suspects include North Korea-linked hackers DarkSeoul, who were recently revealed to have been operating via a five-star Thai hotel open wireless network in Bangkok (according to Bloomberg).
Yesterday North Korea denied any knowledge of the attack – while still describing it as a “righteous deed of the supporters and sympathisers.”
“We do not know where in America the Sony Pictures is situated and for what wrongdoings it became the target of the attack, nor [do] we feel the need to know about it,” a state media statement said.
“But what we clearly know is that the Sony Pictures is the very one which was going to produce a film abetting a terrorist act while hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership of [North Korea].”
According to the news editor of film trade publication Screen International, Michael Rosser, the potential cost to Sony from these leaks could be huge.
He told RadioTimes.com: “It would be impossible to say [exactly] but it is hard to imagine it won’t run into the millions if people don’t watch the films or buy the DVDs.
“Inglourious Basterds – the last World War 2 movie starring Brad Pitt – made more than $320m at the worldwide box office and more than $100m in DVD/Blu-ray sales in the US alone.
“Mike Leigh’s previous period drama, Vera Drake in 2004, made in excess of $13m around the world.”