In late November, Sony Pictures’ computer network was hacked, and thousands of files were stolen. Among the information in said stolen files: personal details and social security numbers for over 47,000 Sony employees— among them were Judd Apatow, Sylvester Stallone, and other writers, directors, and actors involved with Sony produced movies and television programs.
“What’s In This Folder Labeled ‘Passwords’?”
Since the Sony security breach, over 600 of the stolen files have been posted on the interwebs for all the world to see. In those files, social security numbers appeared over a million times. A million. Also included were full names, dates of birth, home addresses, and other info that could, obviously, lead very easily to identity theft and/or fraud.
If that weren’t bad enough, it was also revealed that Sony company passwords—thousands of them—were kept hidden in the files, safe, secure, and totally inconspicuously, in a file labeled “Passwords”. That is not a joke. I’m willing to bet someone got fired as a direct result of this revelation.
The hack is being investigated by Identity Finder, among others. “The most concerning finding in our analysis is the sheer number of duplicate copies of social security numbers that existed inside the files,” a statement from Identity Finder CEO Todd Feinman read, in part. “In this instance, some SSNs appeared in more than 400 different locations, giving hackers more opportunities to wreak havoc.” So, maybe more than one someone got fired.
“As we’ve seen from the myriad data breaches this year,” Feinman’s statement continued, “every organization is vulnerable to attack. Security technologies are an important shield, but minimizing the target and reducing the footprint of sensitive data is more critical than ever.”
The Unusual Suspects
A group calling themselves #GOP—which, ironically, is shorthand for Guardians of Peace—has claimed responsibility for the intrusion. No word on whether the hashtag is supposed to be part of the name when spoken. “Hashtag-G-O-P”? Dummies.
The stolen files were made readily available on BitTorrent and other file-sharing networks. Early investigations suggested that North Korea was behind the attack. The thought was that the North Korean government hacked the system in retaliation for Sony’s upcoming movie, The Interview, a comedy starring James Franco and Seth Rogen in which the duo’s characters are sent on a secret CIA mission to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
Earlier this year, the nation’s government declared the film “an act of war,” because they’re totally cool and can take a joke. North Korea then tried to play it cool, saying through a government spokesman, “Wait and see” when asked if they played a part in the hack. Now, however, they’ve fully denied any involvement.
Which, seriously, of course they didn’t do it: if their computer hacking is on par with their ballistic missile designing capabilities, the North Korean government couldn’t hack their way out of a Nintendo N64.