Yesterday was a monumental day in the history of cinema. Never before has a movie studio pulled a film from release due to terrorist threats. Yet that's exactly what happened with Sony and their planned Christmas day release of The Interview. The comedy starring James Franco and Seth Rogen follows a celebrity interviewer and his producer as they set off for North Korea to assassinate real-life dictator Kim Jong-Un. The build-up to the release saw Sony Pictures suffering a massive hack attack that leaked important emails and documents, exposing the studios biggest secrets. This lead to a 9/11-type terrorist attack threat against theaters showing the movie on its day of release. After the five big theater chains decided against screening the movie, Sony pulled the film from existence, and right now, it looks like the film may never be released to insure that all insurance costs are recouped.
Its expected that later today, the U.S. government will officially announce North Korea as being responsible for the Sony hack attack. It is unclear how this will change the landscape of filmmaking in the foreseeable future, and how it will change the country at large in terms of how we deal with terrorist threats and cyber warfare. It's possible that these events will be declared an act of war by our country. While we await any official word on how this will all play out, Sony Pictures has released an official statement on the hacking that it has suffered. Exactly what information has been stolen. And the identity theft protection services they are being offering to anyone who has been affected by these crimes. Here is that statement in full:
SPE learned on December 1, 2014, that the security of certain personally identifiable information about its current and former employees, and their dependents, that participated in SPE health plans and other benefits, and certain production employees potentially may have been compromised. Although SPE is in the process of investigating the scope of the cyber attack, SPE believes that the following types of personally identifiable information that such individuals provided to SPE potentially may have been obtained by unauthorized individuals: (i) name, (ii) address, (iii) social security number, driver's license number, passport number, and/or other government identifier, (iv) bank account information, (v) credit card information for corporate travel and expense, (vi) username and passwords, (vii) compensation and (viii) other employment related information. In addition, unauthorized individuals may have obtained (ix) HIPAA protected health information, such as name, social security number, claims appeals information submitted to SPE (including diagnosis), date of birth, home address, and member ID number to the extent that the potentially impacted individuals participated in SPE health plans, and (x) health/medical information provided to SPE outside of SPE health plans.
Also on December 1, 2014, SPE began the process of notifying employees that it would be providing identity theft protection services to them and to their dependents. SPE has continued to reach out to potentially impacted individuals with notification about this situation, to offer identity protection services and to provide them with information about how to protect themselves from identity theft and other potential loss. SPE is encouraging potentially impacted employees and former employees to be especially aware of email, telephone, and postal mail scams that ask for personal or sensitive information, as neither SPE nor anyone acting on its behalf would contact them in any way, including by email, asking for credit card number, social security number/government identifier or other personally identifiable information. Individuals asked for this information can be confident SPE is not the entity asking. To protect against possible identity theft or other financial loss, SPE encourages potentially impacted employees and former employees to remain vigilant, review account statements, monitor credit reports to the extent available, change passwords and to enroll promptly in the identity theft protection services made available to them by SPE.
The purpose of this press release is to take further steps to make sure that potentially impacted individuals receive this information.
Potentially affected individuals can review the full text of individual notifications and/or obtain information about AllClear ID identity protection services that may be available to them at sonypictures.com or by calling the SPE Information and Support Hotline. The U.S. toll free number is: (866) 361-8961; the international number is: +1 (262) 222-0434.