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New thinking, new technology for the creative sectors
A MediaTainment Finance supplement

Is there any lesson to be learned from the hack attack that nearly brought Sony Pictures Entertainment down to its knees last Christmas holidays?

The ramifications of the malware (malicious software) that nearly tore the Hollywood studio Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) apart have been brutal.

SPE’s Japanese parent company Sony Corp, a consumer tech giant and brand (as well as owner of major music label Sony Music Entertainment and Sony PlayStation video games), wants to postpone the filing of its most recent financial results.

The figures for the third quarter of the financial year ending 31 March 2015 cover earnings during the three months ending 31 December 2014. That should be filed by 16 February. But Sony has asked the Financial Services Agency of Japan to extend that deadline to 31 March.

Sony’s official reason: “In November 2014, Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc…identified a cyberattack on SPE’s network and IT infrastructure.” That month, hackers called the Guardians of Peace (GOP) claimed responsibility for the malware that knocked out SPE’s computer network.

The breach of corporations and governments’ Internet systems by tech viruses and worms is nothing new. Microsoft and US department store giant Target are among several such victims. But Sony must have pissed someone whose toxic feelings triggered the latest of several malware mayhems at the corporation.

And in today’s world of large broadband bandwidth and social media, very few Internet connected people did not know about SPE’s humiliation. One alleged fallout appears to be the recent resignation of Amy Pascal, SPE’s co-chairman.

GOP’s assault saw SPE’s private corporate documents spill out all over the Internet. The contents included unsavory email exchanges by the very top executives; the payment details of top Hollywood talent like Sylvester Stallone and Angelina Jolie; and copies of unreleased movies.

Even before the mess had hit the proverbial tech fan, GOP sent out warnings about its audacious plans to online forums. Links led to blood-red colored statements such as “Hacked By GOP…Warning…We’ve already warned you, and this is just a beginning.” And “We’ve obtained all your internal data including your secrets and top secrets.”

To continue reading this article and other coverage of technology disrupting the creative industries, download TechMutiny Issue No.9

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