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Hackers bring down Sony Pictures Studio to its knees

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December 5, 2014

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Cyber criminals have brought down a major Hollywood studio to its knees. But right now, Sony Pictures is dealing with a lot more than downed computers and some lost emails.

Movies have been leaked, and internal documents have exposed private company memos, along with employees' salaries, Social Security numbers and health information, along with more corporate and sensitive information.

It's so devastating for Sony that the FBI is now warning other companies about the malicious software that infected Sony Picture's servers.

This hack could prove extremely costly to Sony, not just financially but also in terms of PR.

Every stolen copy of a movie is potentially a movie ticket lost. "Fury," the World War II drama starring Brad Pitt, has been downloaded illegally 2.3 million times, according to tracking firm Excipio.

The hack also threatens Sony's remake of the musical "Annie," starring Jamie Foxx, before it hits theaters in just two weeks. It's been pirated more than 278,000 times.

The hack has also produced some very embarrassing internal communications, including memos that show Sony employees are fed up with the boring, unimaginative movies Sony keeps putting out. Among the criticisms-- Sony has failed to deliver on its Spiderman franchise. As one employee put it: "We continue to be saddled with the mundane, formulaic Adam Sandler films."

The world also knows today what Sony employees make. The news organization Fusion spotted a major pay gap that runs on gender and race lines. There are 17 people at Sony Pictures who make more than $1 million a year. Only one is black, and only one is a woman.

And to top it all off, hackers have exposed enough personal data that 3,800 employees must now be on guard for identity theft.

All of this is getting posted publicly in huge batches of computer files on websites like and illegal file-sharing websites.

Security researcher Dan Tentler has found that the files are being shared using computer servers owned by Sony's PlayStation Network, adding insult to injury.

Hackers took more than hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 30 servers, a leak of information so huge that some experts think it'll take Sony a minimum of a whole year or more to go through it all and deal with the huge damage to its image.

As for the latest attack, Sony executives think it might be North Korea. After all, Sony is about to release "The Interview," a comedy about a plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

Meanwhile, Sony has kept mostly quiet about the incident, only stating that "a disruption" occurred to its computers and that it's now working with law enforcement.

Source: Sony Pictures.

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