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Sony: Controversial Film Breaks Record

Sony: Controversial Film Breaks Record | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it
In the latest twist in the saga of the Sony Pictures Entertainment hacking incident, the comedy film "The Interview" has stormed to on-demand success, taking in $15 million in online sales through Dec. 27. Sony Pictures says the movie is the studio's highest-grossing online release of all time.

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Sony released "The Interview" on Dec. 24 via YouTube, Google Play and Microsoft Xbox, as well as a dedicated movie website, after which it was downloaded more than 2 million times. The film was subsequently added to Apple iTunes on Dec. 28, where it can be rented for about $6 or bought outright for about $15. "We're pleased to offer 'The Interview' for rental or purchase on the iTunes Store," Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr says in a statement.
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Meanwhile on Christmas Day, "The Interview" opened in about 330 independent cinemas, earning about $3 million through Dec. 27, Sony says.

"The Interview" centers on a tabloid TV reporting team that gets approached by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The country's leadership, which is based in Pyongyang, has denounced the film.

The movie was originally set to open on 3,000 screens Christmas Day, with Sony estimating the film would earn $20 million in its opening weekend. But large theater chains balked at showing it after a group that calls itself Guardians of Peace, or G.O.P., issued a "terror" threat against cinemas that showed the film, leading Sony to cancel the film's release. After being criticized by President Obama, Sony relented and announced that it would make the movie available online and via independent and art house cinemas. It's still unclear, however, if Sony will recoup the estimated $75 million it spent to make and market the film, Variety reports.

While G.O.P. has claimed credit for hacking Sony - and claimed that the attack was related to "The Interview" - the FBI said that it traced the attack to North Korea. To date, however, the bureau has declined to publish detailed technical evidence to support that assertion, and many security experts say they're not convinced that the FBI's attribution is correct.
Pyongyang Repeats Sony Attack Denials

North Korea, repeating earlier denials, issued a Dec. 27 statement to the country's state-run KCNA news agency, saying that Pyongyang had nothing to do with the Sony Pictures hack. "If the U.S. is to persistently insist that the hacking attack was made by the DPRK, the U.S. should produce evidence without fail, though belatedly," a spokesman for North Korea's Policy Department of the National Defense Commission told KCNA.

Pyongyang also threatened "inescapable deadly blows" over his encouraging Sony Pictures to release "The Interview."

"Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest," an unnamed spokesman for the National Defense Commission said in a statement, which was published by KCNA, Reuters reports, noting that this isn't the first time that North Korea appears to have used terminology that is intended to cause racial offense.

The North Korean Internet connection and 3G mobile network, which have been unstable for the past week - and which experienced a roughly nine-hour outage on Dec. 23 - was again intermittently unavailable beginning on Dec. 27, reports state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua. The U.S. government has said it had nothing to do with those disruptions.

But North Korea has dismissed the U.S. government's statement. "The United States, with its large physical size and oblivious to the shame of playing hide and seek as children with runny noses would, has begun disrupting the Internet operations of the main media outlets of our republic," it said in a Dec. 27 statement.
Sony Restores PlayStation Service

Separately, both Sony and Microsoft have restored service to their gaming networks after they were disrupted on Christmas Day by the distributed denial-of-service gang that calls itself Lizard Squad. Microsoft said that Xbox Live was back online by Dec. 26, while Sony said that by Dec. 27 that it had restored PlayStation Network service.

Kim Dotcom, the controversial founder of the file-sharing site MegaUpload, and who now helms the cloud storage and file-hosting service Mega, claims to have sealed the peace deal that led to Lizard Squad calling off its attacks late on Dec. 25, after which the game networks began restoring some services. Dotcom says the negotiation also involved elements of Anonymous, as well as a group of self-proclaimed "white hat" hackers calling themselves Finest Squad. But the clincher appeared to be Dotcom offering Lizard Squad 3,000 free, lifetime vouchers for Mega if they would call off their DDoS attack and desist from further such attacks. The vouchers normally retail for $99, meaning that Dotcom offered the attackers the equivalent of about $300,000 to call off their attacks.
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Sony Hack a 'National Security Matter'

Sony Hack a 'National Security Matter' | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The White House says that it's treating the malware attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment and subsequent data leaks as a "national security matter." But the administration says it's too early in its investigation into the attack to definitively attribute the attacks to any particular group or nation state.


"This is something that's being treated as a serious national security matter," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters in a Dec. 18 briefing. "There is evidence to indicate that we have seen destructive activity with malicious intent that was initiated by a sophisticated actor. And it is being treated by those investigative agencies, both at the FBI and the Department of Justice, as seriously as you would expect."

The hacker attack against Sony has reportedly included data theft and, on Nov. 24, wiper malware being used to erase Sony data. That's been followed by ongoing data leaks and other threats against Sony Pictures Entertainment and its employees.

Earnest says the ongoing attack "has also been the subject of a number of daily meetings that have been convened here at the White House," led by homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco and cybersecurity coordinator Michael Daniel and including representatives from intelligence, diplomatic, military and law enforcement agencies.

A group that calls itself the Guardians of Peace has claimed credit for the attack against Sony Pictures, including the leaks of stolen data, which has included top Sony Pictures executives' Outlook e-mail spools. After "G.O.P." launched its attacks and began leaking data, however, the group then claimed it would stop the data leaks if Sony canceled its forthcoming comedy "The Interview," which centers on a tabloid TV reporting team that gets approached by the CIA to assassinate Kim Jong-un, who heads the Pyongyang-based communist dictatorship that rules North Korea.

After G.O.P. published a "terror" threat against movie theaters, U.S. theater chains announced that they would not show the film. Subsequently, Sony announced that it would shelve "The Interview" indefinitely, which has sparked a further backlash against the already beleaguered movie and television studio.

Investigation Still 'Progressing'

In response to questions about whether North Korea launched or sponsored the Sony attack, Earnest said that while the investigation is "progressing," he was not yet able to comment on that question, Reuters reports. But he said that the administration "would be mindful of the fact that we need a proportional response," and cautioned that the people behind these types of malicious attacks were "often seeking to provoke a response."

"They may believe that a response from us in one fashion or another would be advantageous to them," Earnest said, for example, by focusing international attention on their agenda, or increasing their standing with peers.

Ken Westin, a security analyst at information security vendor Tripwire, says it is premature to attribute the Sony hack to any specific group or nation. "FBI notices have been sent out stating specifically no connection has been made and that the investigation is still under way," he says.


While the White House and FBI say it's too soon to blame the hack attack against Sony Pictures - which is a subsidiary of Japanese multinational conglomerate Sony - on any particular group or actor, other government officials have nevertheless been sharing their own theories with multiple media outlets. "We have found linkage to the North Korean government," a "U.S. government source" tells NBC News, which reports that the attack against Sony appeared to have been launched from outside North Korea. But no evidence was supplied that might confirm any supposed linkage to Pyongyang having participated in or ordered up the attacks.

Information security experts, meanwhile, have warned against reading too much into any supposed "linkage" between the Sony hack and North Korea, or the fact that unnamed government sources told the New York Times that North Korea was "centrally involved" in the attack against Sony, saying such suppositions have yet to be confirmed by the release of any supporting facts. In fact, security experts warn, the information being cited by unnamed government officials at times seems to contradict suggestions of Pyongyang involvement.

"People don't seem to be reading past the headline or first couple of paragraphs," says attrition.org CEO and security expert Brian Martin, a.k.a. Jericho, in a blog post, referring to the New York Times report. "What seems like a strong, definitive piece falls apart and begins to contradict itself entirely halfway through the article."

Intelligence Not 100% Reliable

Furthermore, what one unnamed intelligence source believes may not square with another intelligence source, warns Jeffrey Carr, CEO of threat-intelligence sharing firm Gaia International. He says the intelligence community "is rarely unified when it comes to intelligence analysis; especially cyber-intelligence."

Carr and other security experts have also warned that whoever is sharing supposed Sony-related intelligence may also have a political agenda. "Cybersecurity has become an increasingly political topic thanks to recent NSA revelations and increased defense spending being allocated to cyber defense - and offense - not to mention issues of pirating, net neutrality, privacy and related topics, all of which the Sony breach touches on," Tripwire's Westin says.

Despite the lack of solid evidence that proves North Korea is responsible for the Sony attack, some commentators have been referring to the hack against Sony in military terms. Former Congressman Newt Gingrich, for example, claims that "with the Sony collapse America has lost its first cyberwar."

But security experts have cautioned against jumping to conclusions. "I've said it for a week, and I must say it again," Martin of attrition.org says. "How about we wait for actual evidence. ... Remember, North Korea is the same country that threatened the U.S. with a nuclear missile earlier this year. They like to rattle their saber at everyone, but it doesn't mean they actually did anything."



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Kyle Greene's curator insight, October 18, 2017 11:59 AM

Cyber Security is a growing concern among all companies in the Entertainment and Media industries. This article addresses the notion that the treaty to companies cyber security is so prominent that government agencies such as the White House and the FBI. I feel that this article is a reliable source because it is from a website hosted by Cyber Security workers, and authors who have first hand experience in Cyber Security.

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The Hackers' Shocking, Pointless Defeat of 'The Interview'

The Hackers' Shocking, Pointless Defeat of 'The Interview' | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The latest, strangest turn in the Sony hack saga, an ongoing sequence of cyber-attacks seemingly motivated by Seth Rogen and James Franco's "assassination of Kim Jong-un" comedy The Interview, has a film studio taking a seemingly unprecedented step: letting movie theaters pull the movie entirely in the wake of terrorist threats. The film was due for release on Christmas Day and now may not be shown in any theater—certainly not the major chains (AMC, Regal, Cinemark, Cineplex) that most Americans attend. It's a shocking turn, especially since it's motivated by extremely vague threats ("The world will be full of fear…remember the 11th of September 2001…we recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.").

In one obvious sense, then, the terrorists have won. But if their goal really was to prevent people from seeing Kim Jong Un’s fictional assassination, then it may turn out to be a pointless victory.

It remains to be seen how this situation will play out exactly—but it’s easy to guess. Within hours of The Interview getting yanked from theaters, news hit that Sony is apparently considering a premium online release for the film. That seems like the most logical step—both from a profit standpoint and a safety one. Sony stands to lose millions in this whole affair, not to mention whatever penalties they might owe the film’s creative personnel, so any money that could be recouped on VOD would help offset that. It also makes a certain sense that theaters are acting in unison on this—as vague as the threat might be, it would take just one incident to create enormous liability for them. The New York Times pointed out that shopping malls, in which many theaters reside, helped lobby for the decision to avoid screening The Interview.


The Interview could very well benefit, in a cruel and unusual sort of way, from all this bizarre publicity.


Still, many are pointing out the scary precedent of Sony bowing to unspecified threats, especially when the Department of Homeland Security said the threats were not credible. Say someone disagrees with the premise of an upcoming film—one that deals with a hot-button issue like abortion or race, for example. If a terror threat gets called in, would theaters be compelled to make the same decision they made here? Though the Sony hackers have displayed their might in a sense—by ripping hundreds of terrabytes of information from its private servers to publicly embarrass the company—they haven’t demonstrated the capability to make good on the more horrifying threat they made Tuesday.

The Internet has enabled the hackers’ power, but it has also neutered them: The Interview will almost certainly be seen, whether in theaters or not. In 1990, a similar situation would have doomed a film to utter obscurity. Even in 2001, the Arnold Schwarzenegger action vehicle Collateral Damage, which was due for release on October 5, 2001 and was pushed to the next February because it depicted a bomb attack in the U.S., was basically forgotten outside of that pop-culture history footnote. But because of on-demand technology, The Interview could very well benefit, in a cruel and unusual sort of way, from all this bizarre publicity. Were the situation not so financially harmful and publicly embarrassing for Sony, it’d be easy to conspiratorially regard it as some kind of high-concept publicity stunt to convince us of The Interview’s political bravery.

Still, who knows if that will translate into online viewings—or what Sony will even charge for the privilege of watching it in one’s own home, free of a terrorist threat. That’s how precedent-setting this is: Nothing like this has ever happened before. Three years ago Universal weighed releasing its comedy Tower Heist on VOD three weeks after it hit theaters, at $60 a pop, to generate public interest. Theaters threatened to boycott and the decision was scrapped. We lived in strange times then—but stranger times now.



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Paul Gill's curator insight, December 25, 2014 3:37 PM

Dear Kim Jong-un and everyone else - Merry Christmas - um, regarding The Interview - What was the Point?  

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'The Interview' Could Coming To YouTube Tomorrow

'The Interview' Could Coming To YouTube Tomorrow | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Sony will release "The Interview" on YouTube, Brian Stelter of CNN reports. YouTube has tentatively agreed to allow YouTube users to rent the movie.

Business Insider has reached out to Sony for confirmation.

Over the last few days, Sony has reversed its position that the movie will not be shown.

Last week, it decided to pull the movie's premiere in theaters after the five largest theater chains said they wouldn't show it. Sony also implied it wouldn't release the movie online or through a video on demand service.

But on Friday, President Obama told reporters at a news conference that Sony made a "mistake" by caving to the demands of hackers. Also on Friday, the FBI formally blamed North Korea for backing the hacker group that forced Sony to initially pull "The Interview" from theaters.

Since then, Sony has reversed its position and decided to release the movie in about 200 independent movie theaters. Now, it'll be released online too.


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Sony Breach: Studio Cancels Film Release

Sony Breach: Studio Cancels Film Release | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it
One day after hackers made a "terror" threat against movie theaters and theatergoers - in relation to the release of the forthcoming Sony Pictures Entertainment comedy "The Interview," the studio canceled the release of the film.

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"In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film, we have decided not to move forward with the planned Dec. 25 theatrical release," the company says in a statement sent to USA Today on Dec. 17. "We respect and understand our partners' decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers."
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Following the threat, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that "at this time there is no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters within the United States."

Sony Pictures did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"The Interview" stars James Franco and Seth Rogen - who also co-directed - as a tabloid TV reporting team who land an interview with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang, but who get approached by the CIA to instead assassinate him.
Theater Chains React to Warning

A group that calls itself the Guardians of Peace, which claimed responsibility for the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment, said in a Dec. 16 warning: "Remember the 11th of September 2001. We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places 'The Interview' be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to. ... We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you'd better leave.)"

The warning was contained in a message posted to the FriendPaste and Pastebin text-sharing websites, by G.O.P. following the group's damaging Nov. 24 wiper malware attack against Sony Pictures, as well as its ongoing anti-Sony public relations campaign, which to date has seen the group reportedly release tens of gigabytes of stolen Sony data.

In response to G.O.P.'s threat, Sony Pictures had told theaters that it will allow them to decide whether they want to show the film. On Dec. 16, Carmike Cinemas - the fourth-largest U.S. exhibitor, by number of screens - said it wouldn't show the film, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Following Carmike Cinemas' decision, Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark and Cineplex Entertainment all decided not to show the film, according to Yahoo.

The National Association of Theatre Owners issued a statement about theater operators' decisions not to show the film.

"The ability of our guests to enjoy the entertainment they choose in safety and comfort is and will continue to be a priority for theater owners," the association said. "We are encouraged that the authorities have made progress in their investigation and we look forward to the time when the responsible criminals are apprehended. Until that happens, individual cinema operators may decide to delay exhibition of the movie so that our guests may enjoy a safe holiday movie season experiencing the many other exciting films we have to offer."
Buying Time?

Al Pascual, director of fraud and security and Javelin Strategy & Research, tells Information Security Media Group: "I suspect that this is a move designed to buy Sony time, with the hope that they can triage the fallout from the breach from a business perspective and continue the investigation to identify those responsible.

"Sony can never be sure that the G.O.P. would hold up any end of a bargain to not release additional information if they canceled 'The Interview' permanently, and further still, the G.O.P. could release additional information at a later date to pressure the company on another initiative. If Sony is honestly going to cancel this movie in reaction to the demands of the G.O.P., it is both naïve and sets an incredibly dangerous precedent."
New Details

A G.O.P. message earlier this week said that although the group had already released numerous batches of Sony information, it was building toward a bigger "Christmas present" for the movie and television studio (see: Sony Breach Response: Legal Threats).

Then on Dec. 16, it issued a message including links to torrent files and file-sharing sites that contained what the group describes as its "1st Christmas gift," which is the Outlook mailbox for Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman and CEO Michael Lynton. According to various press reports, 32,000 e-mails to and from Lynton have been released, dating from 2013 through to Nov. 21, 2014, which was just three days before Sony Pictures suffered the wiper malware attack that reportedly led the company to issue new laptops to numerous employees.

Earlier this week, two former employees filed a lawsuit against Sony, claiming that it had failed to protect their private information. The plaintiffs are seeking class action status.

Since then, another two employees have filed a class action lawsuit against the company, according to the Hollywood Reporter, alleging it failed to implement and maintain reasonable security policies and procedures "appropriate to protect its current and former employees' and associates' personal information."
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Sony Hacking Scandal -- Execs Convinced It's an Inside Job

Sony Hacking Scandal -- Execs Convinced It's an Inside Job | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Sony execs are now convinced someone who worked for the studio is behind the massive hacking ... because no one from the outside could so precisely target the compromising information.

Multiple sources connected to the studio tell TMZ ... the strong, prevailing view is that the North Koreans are probably involved, but they used someone with intimate knowledge of the Sony email system to laser in on the most embarrassing information.

We're told the people at Sony who are investigating believe the hackers had intimate knowledge of mail systems and their configurations. They also believe the hackers have knowledge of the internal media distribution systems and the internal IT systems, including human resources and payroll.

Several people suggested a possible link between the hackers and Sony layoffs, which included a large number of IT employees.



Via Roger Smith, Paulo Félix
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Roger Smith's curator insight, December 17, 2014 4:43 PM

Insider job or very precise social engineering, either way not understanding the threat is the biggest problem for an organisation.

Mcol's curator insight, December 19, 2014 9:46 AM

Exemple de SONY