Michelle Seiler-Tucker, Special for USDR
The size and scope of the recent hack of Sony Pictures is an unprecedented event in the US for such a major company. Since November 24th, hackers calling themselves the Guardians of Peace (GOP) have continued to expose and exploit the inner workings of one of the movie industry’s largest studios. It was a first in malicious software hacks, which forced Sony to shut down every Windows operating system, but not before hackers broke in to its computer networks and leaked thousands of financial documents, emails, personal documents and medical records, as well as several unreleased movies. Stolen financials show that women who work both in the office and on the silver screen for Sony Pictures make less than their male counterparts. Unfortunately, this news is nothing new, but it goes to show that even Hollywood is affected by gender inequality. The one woman employed by Sony who makes over $1 million, Amy Pascal, is too busy preemptively apologizing to various executives and celebrities for any negative comments that she may or may not have said but that could be released in the near future. Sony Pictures Entertainment is trying to get out in front of the devastating cyber-attack that has left the company reeling before the next batch of stolen documents leaks online. The hackers have made a statement saying there are more Sony secrets in store, and supposedly the best is being saved for last.
As a business woman who works with highly private records and confidential documents my clients entrust me with, this past year has had several news headlines about hacking incidents which have led me to perceive cyber security and hack attacks from a completely different perspective. The hackers’ political motives and the public humiliation of Sony raise the possibility of an entirely new approach to cyber-attacks, which combine the hacker ideologies with “creative” expression through a performance that humiliates its target while destroying data and causing the organization to internally crumble into a state of inoperable chaos. Instead of blowing up the studio, such hack attacks are doing equal damage by inflicting malicious software that destroys a company’s operations, while stealing data and private information. Perhaps, the time has come to change the way we think about cyber attacks. What would we have done if they’d blown up the Sony Pictures facilities but not caused any casualties? I bet Sony would prefer that scenario right now too.