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On Tuesday SPE released a short statement that acknowledged something was wrong, but didn’t elaborate. The statement said: “Sony Pictures Entertainment experienced a system disruption, which we are working diligently to resolve.”
Re/code reports that on Monday, a hacker group called the Guardians of Peace or #GOP left an image bearing a message on the screens of computers of SPE employees. The message was said to have threatened to release sensitive data stolen from Sony’s servers if the #GOP’s demands were not met. The attack also locked SPE employees out of their computers forcing them to use paper and pen.
On Wednesday, some of the sensitive files were said to have leaked on Reddit, though whether these were Sony’s files or not has not been independently confirmed.
Released on Christmas Day, SPE’s The Interview stars James Franco and Seth Rogen as a TV presenter and his producer recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong Un. North Korea has been vociferous in it’s complaints about the film and even called the movie an “act of war” in a letter to the United Nations.
This isn’t the first time North Korea has also threatened retaliation for something that it didn’t like or felt was insulting. In July, a Chinese viral video led to Pyongyang demanding the video be taken down and action taken against the makers. And in September, North Korea slammed the makers of the documentary Opposite Number and called on the U.K. to punish those behind that project.