As I sit here in gloomy Indianapolis awaiting Christmas with the family, I can’t help but think about the media surrounding the Sony hacking and the release of James Franco and Seth Rogan’s The Interview. If you were watching the news yesterday, you’d know that Sony has decided to pull the Christmas day release of the film amid threats against theatergoers by the hackers. Hackers: 1, United States: 0, Free Speech: 0. Whomever is truly behind the Sony attacks, they’re not being taken lightly as all of the major movie chains would rather pull the movie vs. facing a real threat of a bombing of sorts. Lets not forget, this is all over a comedy film that shows an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un.
The NY Times put out a report yesterday that placed direct blame on North Korea and stated they are “centrally involved” in the attack on Sony citing unnamed United States officials. As usual, the US has jumped at the opportunity to point fingers despite actually showing concrete proof outside of some speculation. Another thing to note: Sony and the FBI have announced that they have found no evidence so far to tie North Korea to the hacking. So not only is there no evidence of North Korea’s involvement according to the FBI and Sony, North Korea has flat out denied it as well. So who is behind this menacing display of power surrounding the release of a major film? We can look at the actual evidence and make some speculation but I say follow the money. Who could be behind this that actually could benefit from such a thing. North Korea benefits because the movie gets pulled and the United States doesn’t get to see a fake Kim Jong-un go through an assassination attempt – doesn’t that seem a little ridiculous?
Here’s what we do know: an image of a blazing skeleton was shown on the screen of infected computers. The hackers have said they’re from the Guardians of Peace. Nation-state hackers don’t chastise victims of their attack for having poor security as they’ve done with Sony, nor do they post their hacked data to cloud storage systems for all to access. These little points of evidence seem to be true of other hackivist groups like Anonymous or LulzSec which often do these exact same things under ideological reasons, political reasons, or just for fun. In my opinion, if North Korea was involved in this hacking, they would come out with it and be like “yea, it was us”. Wouldn’t they want recognition for their efforts? Instead, they’re being pulled in by the US government.
“[M]onetary compensation we want,” the email read. “Pay the damage, or Sony Pictures will be bombarded as a whole. You know us very well. We never wait long. You’d better behave wisely.” – Hackers
Without going further into details, we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out. I’m skeptical about it all though. This film has managed to receive an insane amount of publicity due to this hacking and one could only think about that translating to dollar signs in the end of it all. Now that the film has been pulled from theaters though, I’m unsure. The hackers did mention that it has nothing to do with The Interview:
“But it is widely reported as if our activity is related to The Interview. This shows how dangerous film The Interview is. The Interview is very dangerous enough to cause a massive hack attack. Sony Pictures produced the film harming the regional peace and security and violating human rights for money. The news with The Interview fully acquaints us with the crimes of Sony Pictures. Like this, their activity is contrary to our philosophy. We struggle to fight against such greed of Sony Pictures.” (via)
While the US tried to figure out another way into war, the media continues to add fuel to the fire by pointing fingers and showing little to no evidence. It’s amazing that a supposed film could cause such a stir in the day to day operations of the movie business. Maybe the timing is just a coincidence and the hackers had been planning to hit Sony for awhile now – the film release just gave them the spotlight in which to do so. Regardless, free speech is being challenged. The movie was pulled. And we have no idea how this is going to play out. One thing I’m sure of though, we’ll all be sitting back in a few months watching The Interview.
Update: This morning (December 19th at 8:56am PST) the FBI has confirmed that North Korea is behind the Sony hack. As a counter to this, I suggest you watch this video. It should help you stay informed.