By James Hirsen, Special for USDR
Major Hollywood powerhouse Sony Pictures is involved in an ongoing investigation of a recent hack attack, which knocked out the studio’s network and resulted in all of its employees’ computer monitors being able to only display an image of a glowing red skeleton along with some vague demands.
This may not have been an ordinary cyber onslaught. Sources told the tech site Re/code that Sony executives are looking into whether the attack is somehow connected to the government of North Korea via operatives in China.
It could be that the motive for the hack is related to Sony’s upcoming comedy, “The Interview,” which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco. Rogen plays the role of a celebrity news producer, and Franco portrays a tabloid television anchor. Together the two secure an exclusive interview with Kim Jong Un and are subsequently recruited by the CIA to assassinate the North Korean leader.
North Korea has been outspoken in its condemnation of the movie. In June of 2014, the repressive nation gave its first official comment about “The Interview,” when, in a statement carried by the official news agency KCNA, it called the film an “act of war.” The movie’s release was additionally described as “reckless U.S. provocative insanity.”
“The act of making and screening such a movie that portrays an attack on our top leadership … is a most wanton act of terror and act of war, and is absolutely intolerable,” the spokesperson indicated in the statement.
Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il, was a huge movie fan who once ordered a South Korean director to be kidnapped. After his abduction, the director was forced to make propaganda movies for the regime until he finally escaped.
The North Korean government recently spoke out again about “The Interview” via its website, Uriminzokkiri. The latest statement referred to the movie as an “evil act of provocation.” The North Korean government is looking for “stern punishment” to be meted out to the “trashy filmmakers,” which presumably includes Rogen and Franco.
An email that had been sent to The Verge tech site reportedly originated from an address associated with the Sony computer hack. The email claimed that the hackers were seeking “equality,” and that they obtained entry to the studio computer system by working with “other [Sony] staff with similar interest.” These hackers have an unusual acronym that they use to identify themselves, #GOP, which they say stands for “Guardians of Peace.”
Following the occurrence of the hack, Sony’s computer screens displayed a message that threatened to release secret data if demands failed to be met. The studio issued the following terse statement concerning the matter: “Sony Pictures Entertainment experienced a system disruption, which we are working diligently to resolve.”
North Korea has had numerous public tantrums over Western cinema. The 2002 James Bond film “007: Die Another Day” was condemned by the North Korean government for the movie’s depiction of a delusional nuke-selling North Korean villain. A similar reaction emanated from the repressive regime over the 2004 comedy “Team America: World Police.” Evidently, the North Korean government was none too happy about Trey Parker and Matt Stone having created a Kim Jong Il puppet, which depicted him as an insecure megalomaniac who was secretly an alien cockroach. The Pyongyang regime also railed against a 2009 Danish documentary, “The Red Chapel.” This year the communist nation demanded that a Chinese viral video be taken down and additionally asked the U.K. to punish the filmmakers of a documentary called “Opposite Number.”
North Korea has apparently resorted to cyber attacks in the past. In 2013 the communist country reportedly launched such an attack against three South Korean television broadcast stations as well as a bank. The attack took down a network of ATM machines, which prevented bank customers from withdrawing or depositing money from their accounts.
Assuming Sony’s technology is functional and free from any hacker-inserted malware, “The Interview” will be released on Christmas Day. Of course, it is not expected to appear on any North Korean theater screens.