Why blame North Korea?
A North Korean spokesman called the movie- The Interview, a ‘blatant act of terrorism and war,’ leading to initial speculation that the country was behind the attack on Sony. Further to this, U.S. official said that the unprecedented hack of Sony Pictures is linked to North Korea and it has been the most damaging cyber-attack ever imposed on an American business. Analyst at research firm Gartner say, the attack is possibly the costliest ever for a U.S. company and there has not been any attack like this in the annals of U.S. breach history.
The attackers not only hacked terabytes of data that included personal emails from top executives and celebrities, but also personal information of employees. In addition, intellectual property ranging from unreleased movies, to scripts of upcoming potential blockbusters, which was also made available for download on the internet. Sony said the reason behind this attack is the Sony-produced comedy movie “The Interview” a fictional comedy about tabloid journalists who plot to kill North Korea’s Dictator Kim Jong Un.
The Guardians of Peace hacker group claiming responsibility for the hack had threatened violence against theaters showing the movie. Hacker group also said that they would generate a 9/11-style attack against the premiere and theaters showing the movie. Further to this, Sony’s announcement came after discussions with major multiplex chains in North America to pull screenings of the movie.
But is North Korea really behind this hack? If not, then why is the US government blaming North Korea? As of now all these questions are unanswered and so far, the main purpose behind the Sony Pictures hack appears to be destruction of information and reputation.
So, how much the cyber-attack will ultimately cost Sony is unclear. However, Sony possibly faces losses of tens of millions of dollars by vanishing the box-office revenue from the movie and from a class-action lawsuit by ex-employees angry over leaked Social Security numbers and other personal information.
But, was this the first time Sony has been brought to its knees by a hacker group? No, in 2011 too hackers took down Sony’s PlayStation Network for 23 days that affected 77 million customers.
Experts say negligent Internet security practices inside Sony such as using easy-to-guess passwords, pasting passwords into emails, and failing to encrypt sensitive materials such as salary and revenue figures of employees and other sensitive document lead to this hack. Experts also add that such disorganized and negligent Internet security practices are common across corporate America.
Moreover, we have seen such attacks in the past as well; consider Home Depot, where hackers stole 56 million credit and debit card numbers or Target, where hackers stole 40 million credit and debit card numbers. This indicates that cybercriminals will always work to defeat security measures, and they have already done so, but, its high time companies realize that best security practices should be followed so that confidential customers and employees information is not at stake.
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