Sony Pictures finally caved in to the pressure of hackers by cancelling the release of their movie, The Interview, a comedy about the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.
Hackers send threatening email to studio executives over The Interview movie
Sony Pictures hackers have sent an email to the studio's top executives, telling them to erase all traces of The Interview or face more data leaks.
According to CNN reports, the hackers are now making more demands of the studio. The hacking group sent an email to Sony top executives last night with a message saying that it would desist from releasing more data, but on the condition that the studio never let anyone see The Interview or any sign that movie ever existed.
"It's very wise that you have made the decision to cancel the release of The Interview. It will be very useful for you," CNN reports the message as reading. The email concludes, "We will ensure the security of your data unless you make additional trouble."
Unfortunately for Sony, that "trouble" includes a laundry list of perceived issues: "Now we want you never let the movie released, distributed or leaked in any form of, for instance, DVD or piracy," the message reportedly says. It also says, "And we want everything related to the movie, including its trailers, as well as its full version down from any website hosting them immediately."
That's a combination of good and bad news for Sony. It is likely relieved that, for now, it has stopped the publication of damaging stolen data, such as executives' emails. But removing "everything related to the movie" from the internet is an impossible task. And even if the hackers don't follow through with their threat and continue to withhold the data because the film isn't being released, Sony will effectively be blackmailed into censoring itself indefinitely so that it can keep this data away from the public. The fact that giving into hacker demands is seemingly effective will also not please critics of Sony, who say that it was cowardly to have cancelled The Interview's release, even in spite of threatened attacks on moviegoers.
US officials are expected to say later today that North Korea is behind the hack. It is unclear what response the United States will take, but the White House press secretary already began setting expectations yesterday, suggesting that whatever the US does will be "proportional." The press secretary said that the attackers may be looking for a specific response, and the US will be mindful of that in its reaction.
Sony was hacked at the end of November. Over the past two weeks, the hackers have been releasing stolen data to the public, creating some huge issues for Sony that range from deeply embarrassing to highly damaging. On Tuesday, the hackers threatened attacks on theaters screening The Interview. Sony cancelled the film's release on Wednesday and has said that it has no further plans to make it public.
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