It appears that things are going from bad to worse when it comes to the recent Sony Pictures Entertainment breach. Sony experienced a security breach last month and the fallout from the attack continues to mount. Not only has sensitive financial information been released — including the salaries of high-ranking Sony executives — but more damaging personal information including 47,000 Social Security numbers of employees and actors have been leaked to the internet.
In addition, upcoming Sony Pictures Entertainment films "Annie," "Still Alice," "Mr. Turner," "To Write Love on Her Arms" and "Fury" have found their way to various sharing sites around the Internet. “Fury”, a World War II drama starring Brad Pitt, had been downloaded 1.2 million times as of November 30 according to Variety.
We’re now learning some even more disturbing details. Guardians of Peace (#GOP), the hackers claiming responsibility for infiltrating Sony’s computer network, are now threatening to harm the families of Sony employees. #GOP reportedly sent Sony employees an email — which just so happened to be riddled with spelling and grammatical errors — that read in part:
What we have done so far is only a small part of our further plan. It’s your false if you think this crisis will be over after some time. All hope will leave you and Sony Pictures will collapse. This situation is only due to Sony Pictures. Sony Pictures is responsible for whatever the result is. Sony Pictures clings to what is good to nobody from the beginning. It’s silly to expect in Sony Pictures to take off us.
Those statements don’t really raise in serious red flags, but they do serve to inflate the ego of a group that realizes that they now have a global audience. However, things start taking a creepy and dangerous turn as the email continues:
Our agents find themselves act in necessary places. Please sign your name to object the false of the company at the email address below if you don’t want to suffer damage. If you don’t, not only you but your family will be in danger… Nobody can prevent us, but the only way is to follow our demand. If you want to prevent us, make your company behave wisely.
Hacking a corporate network is one thing, but threatening employees and their families (whether it be through physical or cyber threats) is crossing over into dangerous territory. Thanks to these new threats, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is taking a more active part into the investigation of both #GOP, and the hack they perpetrated.
“The FBI is aware of threatening emails that have been received by some employees at Sony Pictures Entertainment,” said the FBI in a released statement. “We continue to investigate this matter in order to identify the person or group responsible for the recent attack on the Sony Pictures network.”