Over the past six weeks, the global technological, giant, Sony’s servers were attacked by malware. The attack leaked private information, which included financial and other private information. Costs from speculators put the costs of the cyber attack in the hundreds of millions of dollars, making it the largest in recorded history.
Following the assault on Sony’s servers came threats of violence happening at the screening of The Interview a movie depicting the assassination of Kim Jung Un. These threats had the same wording like the ones prior to the9/11 terrorist attacks and prompted US intelligence agencies to find those responsible. After a week of the Sony attack, sources could not yet affiliate the attack with anyone. A break through came when FBI spies decoded part of the program used to intrude on the files at Sony. When the program was decoded, FBI analysts were able to find that the coding originally came from a computer that utilized a Korean keyboard and North Korean Internet.
This was the nail in the coffin for many who already thought that North Korea was behind the attack, since the film The Interview deals with the death of their “glorious leader” Kim Jung Un. Though many are convinced that North Korea was behind the attack, there are those who are skeptical that the technologically lagged nation is responsible for the attacks. The skeptical have a few questions that cannot be avoided, for instance, why didn’t the group of hackers who could penetrate an advanced security network like Sony’s, hide their Internet address when they attacked or did the group purposely leave its IP address to make it look like North Korea had done it? This question in essence plays devil’s advocate for the quagmire. On the one side, it looks like the hackers made a grave mistake and failed to hide from where they invaded Sony’s system. On the flip side it could have been that the group was successful at penetrating system that the group used a proxy to hide its location and make it look like it came from North Korea. All of this of course to create even more tension between North Korea and the United States, who have constantly been arguing over allegations and threats of nuclear attacks.
Sony’s actions following the controversy were the greatest engrossing. After the hacker group issued more threats, this time towards moviegoers, major cinema companies chose not to air the film. Theaters such as Regal Entertainment Group, AMC, and a couple of other large groups removed the movie from their rotation. Outrage came from the stars of Hollywood who thought that the removal of the film showed that freedom of speech no longer applies in the US. George Clooney championed the cause, making a petition and asking along with his agent for famous Hollywood actors to sign it with him. All of this to stop what George Clooney called the “bow down,” which was the movie companies removing the interview from the rotation.
Removing The Interview caused Sony Pictures to lose out on major income for the movie, which cost $44 million to film, produce, and advertise. Though The Interview lost millions from the large scale screening of the film, Sony Pictures enjoyed a large amount of sales online compared to its small traditional release. From the small theater releases the movie made $5 million in box office sales, and an addition $31 million from online sales. These online sales came form an expansive commercial retail program for the movie on popular sites such as Amazon, iTunes, and Youtube. Though, these sales could not recoup the loses brought by the expenses of the movie, but further sales of the movie in the following weeks will probably allow for the movie to gross over the costs.