Yesterday, Sony Pictures Entertainment suffered a security breach when a group of hackers going by the moniker #GOP, allegedly short for “Guardians of Peace,” took over the studio’s computer network. Employees attempting to log in to the system were greeted with the image of a menacing CGI skeleton, a threatening (albeit, clumsily constructed) message, and a series of links. See the full image below, with the links blurred out, via The Next Web.
Dozens of Twitter accounts were also seized and tweeted out similar messaging, with at least one of the tweets calling CEO Michael Lynton a “criminal,” but Sony has apparently been able to regain control over the accounts.
The group claimed that it would release the internal documents it stole from Sony’s servers if its (heretofore unknown) demands were not met. In a Reddit thread about the story, users are parsing over the various file names (but do not appear to have seen the files). Some allegedly contain photo copies of the passports of various Hollywood stars as well as several documents whose file names include the word “password,” which could be how the Twitter accounts were taken over.
The compromise apparently brought day-to-day operations at Sony Pictures’ offices to a complete halt in some departments, with reports of employees being told to go home while an IT investigation took place. Others reported resorting to using paper and pen, fax machines, and landline telephones to complete work.