The cyber breach at SONY a few weeks ago seems to have evolved into an ongoing mini-series for television. When they occurred, the breaches at big box retailers like Target, Home Depot and Neiman Marcus made headlines and then quickly vanished from the front page and public interest. The SONY breach however seems to have taken on a life of its own. First there was the big news splash that their digital systems had been breached. To the general public with Christmas on their mind, this was greeted with a collective yawn as just another breach in the ongoing series by cyber attackers.
However, this was soon followed by news that the hackers had stolen films from SONY including the upcoming film “The Interview” and were threatening to release it on the Internet. This was certainly going to be a financial disaster for SONY, and the stock market reacted accordingly. Events continued to unfold as shocking news spread that text messages between SONY executives related to the acting abilities of certain stars had been stolen by the hackers and some of them were jokingly critical of the President, complete with racial overtones. This naturally started a firestorm of criticism against the executives and heightened the already tense racial relations in the country.
A bigger bombshell soon hit the airwaves when the hackers threatened to do physical harm in the 9/11manner to theaters that dared screen “The Interview”. Theater owners panicked and cancelled the openings en masse and SONY appeared to capitulate to the now branded hacker/terrorists and seemed to pull the film. This naturally started an uproar over freedom of speech across the country and the lack of gumption in Hollywood these days. Even President Obama weighed in against the SONY decision saying it was a mistake on the part of SONY. SONY executives countered the criticism and claimed they did not pull the film but theaters were refusing to screen it. A great finger pointing of blame quickly ensued. At that point, in a seeming reversal of position, SONY claimed it was going to release the film Christmas Day but only to select theaters.
All during this debate the fingers were pointing more and more confidently at North Korea as the culprit/hackers behind the saga. After all, ‘The Interview” was a comedy about the assassination of the North Korean President Kim Jong-un and their cyber-warriors were believed capable of committing the breach. On hearing the news that the movie was going to be released, the hacker/terrorists by some accounts launched an attack on the SONY PlayStation platform and many people were dismayed when on opening their Christmas presents…found they wouldn’t work. The FBI, who had been investigating the breach, then formally pointed a finger of blame at North Korea as the source of the attacks. At which point, someone decided that North Korea should be punished and invisible hands suddenly shut down Internet service to the communist state, severely disrupting all connections for nearly twenty-four hours.
In the meantime, SONY released the film Christmas Day in limited theaters and probably drew greater audiences then it would have if all the falderal hadn’t happened. According to reports the film made over $15 million in online sales, nearly $3 million at the box office and probably a good deal more with future releases and international sales.
But wait….there’s more! According to some reports people are beginning to second guess and question the original assumptions that North Korea is the guilty party despite FBI assertions. Did Kim Jong-un order the attacks, or as some are now speculating, other bad actors are responsible and left the North Koreans holding the dirty end of the stick? Evidence now seems to be coming out that Russian fingerprints may be on the SONY breach. Time will tell as this melodrama continues to unfold so stay tuned for future updates.
‘The Interview’: $15 Million, 2 Million Streams