Sony Pictures claims 'Nork mega-hack attack' cost it just $15 million

Chump change, studio says


The financial cost of the hacking attack that plagued Sony Pictures Entertainment last year was just a drop in the bucket compared to the movie studio's revenues for the quarter, the Japanese giant has said.

In its third-quarter earnings forecast for the three months ending on December 31, Sony pegged the price of the security breach at just ¥1.8bn ($15.3m) in "investigation and remediation costs." Sony Pictures' total sales for the quarter, on the other hand, topped out at ¥197.6bn ($1.69bn).

Not that the division had a particularly good quarter. Its sales were down 11.7 per cent from the same period a year ago.

But that had nothing to do with any alleged interference by North Korea, Sony said. Rather, there were simply fewer major home entertainment releases this quarter than there were a year ago. Plus, last year's quarter saw an unusual spike in sales due to home video and video-on-demand sales of the TV series Breaking Bad.

Sony did delay this quarter's earnings report, though, allegedly due to the impact of the attack on its financial systems, which had to be taken offline in response to the breach.

Still, it has maintained throughout that it did not see the hacking incident causing a "material upheaval" in Sony Pictures' business operations.

But some analysts have been skeptical of Sony's claims, saying it's impossible to assess the full cost of the attack yet, particularly when it comes to the impact that public perception of the security breach might have on future business negotiations.

US authorities, meanwhile, insist, quite bizarrely, that the attack was an organized operation by the government of North Korea, allegedly in retaliation for the Nork-baiting James Franco and Seth Rogan vehicle The Interview.

Lawmakers and the Obama administration have used the incident to stump for greater powers to battle online threats, and even UK Prime Minister David Cameron has gotten in on the act with a misguided (and largely ignored) campaign to limit online encryption. ®

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022