The news comes a day after the media company canceled the premiere of “The Interview” – a comedy movie that depicts an assassination plot on North Korean dictator Kim Jong UN – and its entire Christmas Day release in cinemas across the country amid threats of 9/11-like attacks on theaters.
It all began on November 24 when emails between Sony employees, information about executive salaries at the company, copies of unreleased films, and other information were obtained and released by a group of hackers who go by the name of “Guardians of Peace” (GOP).
Though it was initially alleged that the troublemakers probably belonged to North Korea and the cyber attack was a backlash to The Interview, one of the hacked movies, those rumors were soon discarded after the hermit kingdom denied any involvement in it. Now, considering U.S. officials’ latest concerns, it seems the old speculation is back on the menu.
However, is it really possible?
How can one single movie, an action- comedy for that matter, cause so much trouble? Aren’t threats of violence reminiscent of 9/11 attacks a bit too extreme? And as far as pulling The Interview from cinemas seems understandable, why would Sony not release it on VOD, DVD or any other platform? Although these questions might sound like conspiracy theories right now, they are legitimate nevertheless.
While there are many important things to have come out of the Sony cyberattack – such as Hollywood racism – there is a lot more than comes to mind when you think about it more carefully. For example:
Can North Korea really pull off such a massive hack?
Are we not giving North Korea a little too much credit for carrying out such an incredible cybercrime?
After all, the same people who are now accusing it of hacking Sony Pictures have been telling us all along that the hermit kingdom lacks all kinds of modern technological equipment to do anything significant.
North Korea has been described as the world’s worst Internet black hole. Internet access is illegal in the country with the exception of a few government officials. The rest of the citizens use the state-owned network called Kwangmyong.
In fact, it was reported sometime in March 2013 that for most North Koreans, online access doesn't exist.
Remember this picture of Kim Jong Un that the entire Western world made fun of because of the outdated consumer desktop keyboard and the Logitech mouse?
Just how can we expect these guys to pull of such a tremendous Internet hack?
But then again, this is just a theory and it could be that these guys are not as old school as we like to think.
It’s not the first time Kim Jong Un has been parodied
Threats of 9/11 like attacks, while serious, do not make sense at all. It’s not as if it’s the first time Kim Jong Un has been at the end of a joke.
Last year, the North Korean leader’s face went viral after it was photoshopped as a cartoon character from Disney movie UP. Also, hacktivst group Anonymous branded Kim as a wanted pig after hacking North Korea’s social network accounts.
Hong Kong even has a famous doppelganger of Kim and no one – quite thankfully – has ever threatened to attack him.
Then why now? Why this movie? Why James Franco and Seth Rogen?
It could be a publicity stunt by Sony or “The Interview” creators
It may sound like a shower thought but it is something that we’re all thinking but not saying out loud.
Although the hack has highlighted Sony’s poor cybersecurity system and incompetency of officials, it has brought a lot of attention to all the movies slated for release – especially The Interview.
It may be a far-fetched speculation considering the scandal could cost the company almost $100 million, it’s still a possibility. At least for Rogen, it’s helped in promoting the movie without promoting it. As Huffington Post’s Jillian Berman stated in her article titled, “For 'The Interview,' Even Negative Publicity (Like A Massive Sony Hack) Is Good Publicity”:
“[The cyberattack] has also brought a lot of attention to "The Interview," the movie starring Seth Rogen and James Franco that some say prompted the hack. The film, due for release on Christmas Day, has become the topic of countless news stories and social media chatter, likely widening the movie's potential audience.”
Also, the abrupt decision to cancel VOD and DVD release further adds to this rumor that The Interview creators are trying to increase demand for the movie.
While it’s all very confusing and only time will reveal the real story behind the scenes, the GOP hackers have again threatened with more leaks in the coming days as a “huge Christmas gift of secrets.”
Brace yourself Hollywood!