Sony Pictures has said that there will be no theatrical release for The Interview, as the US has claimed that North Korea was “centrally involved” in the hacking of Sony Pictures computers.
According to a statement issued to Variety, Sony Pictures said that it has decided not to move forward with the planned December 25th theatrical release of the film, after a number of cinemas decided not to show the film The Interview on safety grounds.
“We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theatre-goers,” it said.
“We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.”
Last night the New York Times published claims from “senior administration officials” that the White House was debating whether to publicly accuse North Korea of what amounts to a cyber terrorism attack.
Concluding that North Korea was “centrally involved” in the hacking of Sony Pictures computers, officials have said that it is not clear how the White House would respond as some within the Obama administration argue that the Government of Kim Jong-un must be confronted directly but without much evidence or any determined actions that could credibly threaten North Korea. Another administration official said a direct confrontation with the North would provide North Korea with the kind of dispute it covets.
However in an email sent in November and seen by Mashable, which was from the attacking group Guardians of Peace and sent to Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton, Chairman Amy Pascal and other executives not only contained grammatical errors and did not appear to have been written by a native speaker, but seemed to suggest that the hackers had a financial motive.
The New York Times report said that there are “remarkable similarities” between the malware used against Sony, including a wiping tool which was used in an attack two years ago against Saudi Aramco, the national oil company, where hackers wiped off data on 30,000 of the company’s computers, replacing it with an image of a burning American flag.
Security researcher Troy Hunt told IT Security Guru that was hardly script kiddie stuff, as it has turned into a potentially nation-state attack. “That would make it even weirder for a nation state to burn attacks on something as frivolous as ‘we don’t like your movie’,” he said.
Amar Singh, founder of the Cyber Management Alliance and GiveADay, said: “In this case it’s just a movie, but what about future attacks that have real world motivations? Imagine an airline boss that does or says something that draws the anger of a nation state. Does that mean the airline stops flying all flights indefinitely? Does it cancel all flights because they have been cyber attacked and threatened?”