Thu, 28 May, 2020

Bizarre December for Sony

By Amun Kharel

December is the month of holidays. People celebrate Christmas with their loved ones. They celebrate end of the year with new resolutions cherishing ups and downs of the year. But this December has been a restless one for the people working in Sony Pictures Entertainment. From Executive to a menial employee, everyone is terrorized by which is called the biggest hacking scandal of all time. For the past two weeks, Sony Pictures Entertainment has been the subject to series of scary cyber attack which has led to shutting down of company’s computer system. The hacking scandal has also revealed employee’s personal information such as salaries, address and social security number. The hacking was conducted by a group of people who call themselves “Guardian of Peace” (GOP). The group was being linked with North Korea who were against the movie “The interview” which was about to be released by Sony Picture Entertainment. The movie focuses on the lifestyle of North Korean people and how they are dictated by a merciless leader who spends the budget of the country on nukes (nuclear weapon) rather than ending poverty and starvation. The movie has pin pointed the dictatorship of the Asian country and their hatred for the imperialistic America. The North Koreans are denying such allegations but are glad that all this is happening. But they did promise “decisive and merciless countermeasure” if U.S. administration allows or supports the movie written by Seth Rogen. A month before the release of this movie GOP took over internal computer system and also seized control of promotional twitter accounts for Sony movies. People in the company were forced to do their job with pen and paper only. On 27th November, 5 unreleased Sony movies hit the web. The list includes “Annie”, “Still Alice”, “Mr Turner”, “To write a love on her arms” and Brad Pitt’s new action flick “Fury”. After two days “Fury” was downloaded from 888,000 unique IP addresses. But it was only a beginning to which it was about to be the biggest hacking scandal in the history. December came with cold winter and some shocking revelations. On Tuesday 2nd December, salaries of 17 top paid executives of Sony Pictures Entertainment were leaked online. The company was in some serious crisis situation. The CEO of company Michael Lynton called the situation, “a brazen attack on our company, and our business partners.” He also added that, “The release of employee and other information are malicious criminal acts and we are working closely with law enforcement.” Also the paychecks of two movie stars James Franco and Seth Rogen were revealed to be $6.5 million and $8.4 million respectively for their roles and script of the movie. On 5th December, the hackers sent an email threatening employees’ families. They emailed them to support on GOP’s goals which was to revolt against the company and threatened to make the situation worse if not obeyed. Sony continued to refuse their offer. And yes the situation got worse. On 9th December, Hackers released full email boxes of Sony executives Amy Pascal and Steve Mosko. Emails were mostly business related and some were personal. Some shockingly racist emails were found against President Obama which has led to public apology from the executive. But Mr President did allow the movie to be released. Was the hacking scandal storm before the calm or is it just a beginning of what is about to be serious conflicts between the two nations? What will GOP do from here? Where do they stand when conflict between the two nations happens as they proclaim themselves as “guardian of peace”?  Does it end here? Definitely doesn’t look like that. This situation might change the course of history.