Nine days have now passed since Sony Pictures Entertainment was targeted by a devastating cyber-attack, the perpetrators of which have yet to be identified. As the investigation continues and the finger of blame finds its way to dozens of high-profile hacker groups and even the North Korean military, employees are still finding it difficult to get back to business as usual.
In the wake of the attack, Sony began providing new computers to workers whose machines were irreparably corrupted by the complex and powerful virus. Insiders have confirmed that machine replacements are continuing, though have made it extremely difficult to get things moving again at the major Hollywood entertainment company.
“A large amount of confidential Sony Pictures Entertainment data has been stolen by the cyber attackers, including personnel information and business documents,” studio co-chiefs Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton confirmed in a memo picked up by Reuters.
“(We are) not yet sure of the full scope of information that the attackers have or might release,” the note continued, before going on to suggest that offers of identity protection made by Sony were accepted and used by all affected employees.
While full details of the security breach are yet to be made public, Sony’s overwhelming concern and aggressive action in the wake of the attack suggests an unprecedented event. According to cyber-security experts, the hack represents that first time such a devastatingly destructive has been used to attack an American business. The FBI is currently investigation what took place nine days ago, though refuses to confirm any of the inquiry’s lead suspects – one of which widely acknowledged to be North Korea.
The Bureau also issued a widespread warning to businesses across the US to take all necessary measures to secure their own systems against similar attacks. North Korea was not singled out in any of the FBI’s communications, though it was confirmed that the virus, or a part thereof, did originate from Korea.
Sony Pictures was hit by the attack last week on November 24, which sources say affected Windows computers only and so did not have an impact on Mac users. In response, Sony’s internal computer network as a whole was shut down in order to prevent the advance of the virus which had begun wiping critical data from an as-yet unconfirmed number of key systems.
Such was the disruption that much of Sony Pictures’ operations in the wake of the attack had to be carried out using pens, paper and other manual means. Since then, some of the most important IT systems at Sony Pictures have once again been powered up in order to allow the company to focus on its key revenue drivers. According to industry insiders quoted by Reuters, the departments primarily responsible for TV show and film distribution and marketing are now mostly back up and running.
The attack could not have been more ill-timed for Sony as CEO Kazuo Hirai goes about a significant restructuring of the brand’s hardware priorities in order to stave off further losses and better allocate available resources.