After suffering from a massive breach in their security, Sony Pictures decided to shelve their (previously) upcoming comedy, “The Interview”, due to serious terrorist threats by a group of hackers. The group, suspected to be tied to North Korea and going by the name “Guardians of Peace”, have threatened to stage attacks on cinema goers; also stealing corporate information and the personal details of Sony Pictures’ employees.
With the terrorist threats treated with the appropriate amount of seriousness, many theatres refused to show the Seth Rogan and James Franco film that ended with the violent death of North Korean Dictator, Kim Jong-un.
Sony is definitely no stranger to cyber attacks and security leaks, with multiple breaches throughout their short history online. 2011 saw their online gaming network offline after a massive security breach, which included the details of millions of Playstation Network users.
In an effort to stop resellers buying and selling the limited edition consoles on the secondhand market, Sony forced fans through a convoluted system with a Playstation trivia test, with the answer hidden on a large collage of Playstation characters. When someone clicked on the image of the answer, the “contestant” was then taken through to a page to enter details and the first lucky 100 people to enter their details are supposed to receive an email to purchase the title.
The problems and flaws with Sony’s system were immediately highlighted. People attempting to go through the correct channels were met with blank screens and loading bars, and it wasn't before long that successful applicants started sharing the link to the “secret” site. With many turning to forums, Twitter and Facebook, it didn’t take long for someone to take their frustration and turn it into a weapon.
Mischievous Sony fan Dean Wild quickly reverse engineered Sony’s Playstation Lottery and posted the program on his blog. Dean’s work around allowed anyone to obtain the “secret” URL needed to take them through to the application screen before the clue went live, requiring almost no effort on the part of the applicant.
Sony have once again failed to provide an adequate internet based solution. They buckled under the weight of legitimate applicants and allowed anyone with access to the work around a fast track. For Sony’s part, they have said anyone caught using the work around will not receive a console.
The Sony Pictures security breach and terrorist threats are deadly serious, with the failure to protect important information and provide Sony staff some security and stability.
Sony’s history online shows a general lack of understanding, not only of the internet, but also the abilities of the people using it.