Sony CEO Responds to New Threat: "Criminals Using Scare Tactics"

Michael Lynton Headshot - H 2013
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Michael Lynton Headshot - H 2013

A security firm told Sony that the hackers' attack is "unprecedented in nature"

Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton has addressed the recent threat that the studio's employees received from hackers.

On Friday, hacking group Guardians of Peace emailed Sony staffers, threatening harm to their family members.

In response, Lynton sent an email to Sony employees to inform them that the FBI has been notified of the threats. Lynton referred to the hackers as "criminals using scare tactics."

Kevin Mandia, head of the cybersecurity firm that is investigating the hack, told Sony execs that the Nov. 24 attack on the studio was "unprecedented in nature" and "carried out by an organized group," according to SPE spokesperson Jean Guerin. This is the first time the security expert has acknowledged that the hack was by an outside group and not an individual.

"The malware was undetectable by industry standard antivirus software and was damaging and unique enough to cause the FBI to release a flash alert to warn other organizations of this critical threat," Mandia said, adding that the attack was designed "to both destroy property and release confidential information to the public."

Read more Sony Hack Reveals Top-Secret Profitability of 2013 Movies

Neither Sony nor other companies could have been prepared for such a breach, Mandia said.

Lynton's email, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, can be seen below.

We understand that some of our employees recently received an email containing malicious and threatening contents from an unknown sender. We immediately notified the FBI of the email and they have teams working on this issue.

First and foremost, if you happen to receive a suspicious email, DO NOT respond to these emails or click on any links. Not only are these criminals using scare tactics, they may also be attempting to further infect the SPE IT network.

Once again, we cannot overemphasize our appreciation to all of you for your commitment and resolve. Together we will move past this incident and continue the extraordinary work you do every day.