Sony Pictures hires Mandiant, asks FBI for help after massive cyber attack

Four upcoming films leaked – is there a connection?

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) has hired FireEye’s Mandiant forensics unit to help it clean up the huge cyber attack that knocked out its network and forced its employees to put pen to paper over the last few weeks.

The company has also asked the FBI to investigate the incident and look into the leak of four of its upcoming movies, although it’s unclear if this is directly linked to the hack.

A group called Guardians of Peace was apparently behind the huge bork of Sony’s systems, which went down last Monday after displaying a red skull and the phrase “hacked by #GOP”.

The hackers said they would leak internal info they had scraped in the attack, unless SPE met its unknown demands, which they had quietly sent to the firm.

Later, internal documents started appearing online, which may have come from individual PCs on the network or the firm’s corporate servers. The docs apparently include passport scans for actors Jonah Hill, Cameron Diaz and Angelina Jolie.

As late as Friday, staff at SPE were trying to do their jobs with a pen and paper, an employee told the Financial Times, because they weren’t allowed to log back into the system or use Sony’s Wi-Fi.

Mandiant is a clean-up crew for these kinds of intrusions and will help SPE to find out how far into the system the hackers breached as well as helping to sort through the networks and restore its systems.

SPE has also approached the FBI about the hack and about the leak of a number of its upcoming movies, including its Christmas remake of the film Annie. The films, which also include Brad Pitt’s WWII drama Fury and Mr Turner, popped up on piracy sites last week.

Of course, it’s not all that strange to see new films on piracy sites, but it is unusual to have them appear before the movie starts showing in cinemas, which is the case with Annie.

There are reports that Sony is investigating the possibility that the hack was orchestrated through North Korea in protest over upcoming comedy The Interview, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco. The film features the pair as tabloid TV journos who decide to travel to the country to interview Kim Jong-un when they discover he’s a fan of their popular show. However, the CIA has other ideas and recruits them to assassinate the North Korean leader. ®

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