It all started the Monday before Thanksgiving, when employees at major Hollywood studio Sony Pictures reportedly were greeted with images of a skull and warnings of a major security breach when they tried to log onto company computers. By Thanksgiving Day, five Sony films — including four major releases that will soon arrive in theaters — were available for download on peer-to-peer networks in a potentially devastating financial loss for the company. The films in question are Fury (currently in theaters) plus the upcoming musical Annie (which stars Quvenzhané Wallis of Beasts of the Southern Wild), Mr. Turner, Still Alice, and To Write Love on Her Arms. Sensitive company data also began to circulate on the web.
Speculation grew over the last several days that the source of the cyberattack might be North Korea, leading to The Wall Street Journal publishing a major story yesterday with the headline "More Signs North Korea May Be Behind Hacking of Sony Pictures." What might the government of North Korea have against a Hollywood studio? A comedy called The Interview that opens nationwide on Christmas Day. It stars James Franco and Seth Rogan as the star and producer of an Entertainment Tonight-style TV show. When the show scores a private interview with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, the CIA asks the Franco and Rogan characters to assassinate Jong-un. Last summer, a spokesman for the North Korean government threatened a “strong and merciless countermeasure” against the film. One thing is for sure: Whoever is responsible for the cyberattack declined to leak The Interview. A trailer for the film is below.