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Censorship Movies Sony Entertainment

Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid' 580

rossgneumann writes North Korea may really be behind the Sony hack, but we're still acting like idiots. Peter W. Singer, one of the nations foremost experts on cybersecurity, says Sony's reaction has been abysmal. "Here, we need to distinguish between threat and capability—the ability to steal gossipy emails from a not-so-great protected computer network is not the same thing as being able to carry out physical, 9/11-style attacks in 18,000 locations simultaneously. I can't believe I'm saying this. I can't believe I have to say this."
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Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

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  • Land of the free (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pope Hagbard ( 3897945 ) on Thursday December 18, 2014 @10:11AM (#48625495) Journal

    Home of the brave.

    • Re:Land of the free (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Racemaniac ( 1099281 ) on Thursday December 18, 2014 @10:15AM (#48625543)

      I just have to wonder if it's not just a PR stunt.
      These kind of threats from hackers does indeed sound unbelievable. Hacking a pc and setting up a terrorist strike are quite different skill sets.
      Am i the only one wondering if this is just a hoax from Sony/the authorities to make people change their stance on the hacks? In the beginning everybody was like "serves them right". Now everybody is like "Omg, poor Sony, i would watch the movie if i could".

      These threats seem like the best thing that could happen to them after the hack. I'm kind of wondering if it isn't a bit too convenient.

      • Alternately, nobody I know had even heard of the movie before the hacks, so I'm wondering if the ENTIRE THING is just a sony PR stunt (not the hacks themselves, but their reaction to them)
      • Re:Land of the free (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Narcocide ( 102829 ) on Thursday December 18, 2014 @10:29AM (#48625703) Homepage

        I heard it once said to never let a serious crisis go to waste.

        • Yup, Hegel 101 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Thursday December 18, 2014 @11:16AM (#48626161)

          The dialogue pinning the attack on DPRK serves many purposes, and it's been quite fun to watch this event transform from "Fuck Sony" to our ever present "Oh Noez! A bogey man" dialectic. We already have politicians claiming that the DPRK made an act of war (Newt Gingrich) and according to at least FOX and ABC the US is officially blaming the DPRK for the cyber attack (though neither have specified what agency this is). Even though evidence is weak [wired.com] at best.

          Anyone believing the "terrorist" propaganda must somehow also believe that the DPRK has millions of bomb strapping terrorists stationed in the US ready to flock into Star and AMC to bomb people for watching a comedy.

          • it's been quite fun to watch this event transform from "Fuck Sony" to our ever present "Oh Noez! A bogey man" dialectic

            I haven't moved on from the "Fuck Sony" part yet. Especially after they pulled the movie. The article that the summary links to is the first response to this that actually makes sense. Every other response from every talking head, or politician, or executive, has been completely fucking stupid. There's not really another way to say it. It's just moronic.

      • People viewing the way SONY wanted to neuter DNS and the visibility of awful collusion in the movie industry towards attacking Google and free speech hasn't gone entirely unnoticed. Serves them right is stronger now than it ever would have been.

      • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Thursday December 18, 2014 @10:47AM (#48625873)

        I wonder too, considering by some accounts it's just a really bad movie (http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/17/opinion/stanley-interview-threats/index.html?hpt=hp_t3 , warning, it's CNN and it's an editorial, take with a shot of tequila and a salt shaker). The only known way of making people see a really bad movie is to have Michael Bay do the special effects, or make some controversy around it. Michael Bay is no doubt working on Transformers N: Plan Gigli from Outer Space

        I don't think NK has the capability of making good on telegraphed threats, nor would they like the response.

      • I am wondering too (Score:4, Insightful)

        by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Thursday December 18, 2014 @10:53AM (#48625903)
        I have posted that yesterday : the feedback I read from people having watched the film in preview told that it was horribly bad. Now they have made sure that for the next days or maybe even week they made the film "unforgettable". Maybe I am paranoid but I would bet that it is a PR coup on Sony side.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dj245 ( 732906 )

        I just have to wonder if it's not just a PR stunt. These kind of threats from hackers does indeed sound unbelievable. Hacking a pc and setting up a terrorist strike are quite different skill sets. Am i the only one wondering if this is just a hoax from Sony/the authorities to make people change their stance on the hacks? In the beginning everybody was like "serves them right". Now everybody is like "Omg, poor Sony, i would watch the movie if i could".

        These threats seem like the best thing that could happen to them after the hack. I'm kind of wondering if it isn't a bit too convenient.

        I'm thinking they made a financial calculation. If the value of the materials which the hackers have, but have not yet released, exceeds the expected revenue of the movie, then it makes sense to trash the movie and just move on. I can easily imagine that such materials (especially if they implicate Sony in illegal or questionable activities) having a value of millions of dollars to be kept secret.

        Plus, the Korea situation isn't that funny. The bottom line is that families were split apart and have rema

      • Re:Land of the free (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Dorianny ( 1847922 ) on Thursday December 18, 2014 @11:29AM (#48626315) Journal
        This story made the front page news of every media outlet including Slashdot. You can't buy that kind of publicity. When the movie is re-released in a few weeks time it will be everyone's patriotic duty to show the North Koreans we are not afraid and go see the movie.

        Either that or the hackers have far more damaging data on Sony exec's. Evidence that could land them in jail perhaps?

        Personally I vote for it being a PR ploy by Sony to bolster ticket sales of what was otherwise sure to be a box-office flop

      • I just have to wonder if it's not just a PR stunt.

        I think it's much more likely that Sony is trying to shift media attention away from all of the information that was leaked, and onto the story of the threats and the movie. Pulling the movie all of a sudden makes the threats seem much more credible, and now that's what the media is talking about. The real story here is all of the data that was stolen from Sony, like the story about them wanting to go after DNS to take down piracy websites. The movie isn't the story, but that's where the narrative is bei

    • And home of the lawyers and their overly litigious legal system. If one single attack occurred, somebody would surely file suit against Sony, knowing this country. They're probably hedging their financial bets, even as silly as the whole thing is. Same reason we have idiot warning labels on stuff like Playdoh, saying not to shove the the whole can's contents up both nostrils or something.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I'm not going to Mod up, I am going to expound. The fact that we do not hold the people actually doing harm responsible, but rather go for anyone tangentially related but has deep pockets, in a get rich quick scheme using the legal system as a tool, is what is causing this kind of reaction. The threat of a lawsuit is greater than the threat from actual crime.

        And to be honest, the US reaction has been pitiful. Why we put up with NK at all at this point is simply a matter of lack of leadership. However, as l

        • by u38cg ( 607297 ) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Thursday December 18, 2014 @11:48AM (#48626551) Homepage

          Why we put up with NK at all at this point is simply a matter of lack of leadership.

          And the minor issue that doing anything practical puts at risk the life of every single citizen living in Seoul, population 10 million. Never mind the geopolitical risk of any conflict sucking in China, which would be a bit of a nuisance.

        • How the hell does Muti-terabytes of data leave your network, without even a HINT of it. I'm sure that whatever cost savings they were going for when IT budgets came out was well worth it. I hope Sony gets it pants sued off (see first paragraph) by the likes of all the actors, crews and other employees.

          What a cluster fuck.

          I don't know their system and I'm only an amateur at network programming but if they do a lot of data transfers what makes you think they will notice terabytes of data copied when they are probably usually seeing petabytes moving around? The whole point of networks is easy transfer of data, effective security makes it harder for legitimate users to use the network and results in a lot of complaints to IT. I work with a government contractor and I'm pretty sure I could bypass most of their security with a

    • If God wanted us to be brave, why did he give us legs?
    • last I checked Sony was a Japanese multinational conglomerate, what country are you thinking about?

    • by Shoten ( 260439 )

      Home of the brave.

      Um...Sony is headquartered in Japan. And there's no way that a decision with this level of financial impact was made without permission from management back hom.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 18, 2014 @10:14AM (#48625533)

    Nobody's hacking, noob. You just suck!

  • by marcello_dl ( 667940 ) on Thursday December 18, 2014 @10:16AM (#48625557) Homepage Journal

    What can be explained as a propaganda campaign. Expect this controversial piece of fine art to reach you a way or the other.

  • Yea but... they only have to pull it off at 1 theater.
    And it doesn't have to be NK that does it... some crazy nut job could... and Sony would be on the hook for liability.

    If Sony were smart (which they definitely are not) they would have leaked the movie as a torrent themselves, blamed North Korea, and then with the Sword of Demaclese now lying squarely at their feet moved on with their lives. They may have pulled the movie from theaters but it could still get released, and until that threats gone NK will c

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Eunuchswear ( 210685 )

      And it doesn't have to be NK that does it... some crazy nut job could... and Sony would be on the hook for liability.

      How?

      • Re:yea but (Score:5, Informative)

        by _xeno_ ( 155264 ) on Thursday December 18, 2014 @11:05AM (#48626057) Homepage Journal

        The OP has it wrong. The theaters would be liable.

        Remember the shooting that occurred at a screening of Batman: the Dark Knight? Well, some families of victims are suing the theater and the case is still ongoing [deadline.com]. Because there's a chance that the theater may be found liable of not having "enough security" for a random shooting, and because it can be argued that the theaters in this case were "warned ahead of time of a potential attack," they could potentially be found liable should anything happen.

        Keep in mind that Sony is only pulling the release after the five largest theater chains refused to show it. And the reason they refused to show it is because they could potentially be liable should anything happen anywhere in any of their theaters. Given the poor reviews the movie is getting [rottentomatoes.com] they presumably decided that it just wasn't worth any risk as they're probably not going to make much anything off showing it anyway.

        • by n7ytd ( 230708 )

          Keep in mind that Sony is only pulling the release after the five largest theater chains refused to show it. And the reason they refused to show it is because they could potentially be liable should anything happen anywhere in any of their theaters. Given the poor reviews the movie is getting [rottentomatoes.com] they presumably decided that it just wasn't worth any risk as they're probably not going to make much anything off showing it anyway.

          I propose a much simpler reason aside from potential liability that they are pulling it. Looking strictly at the bottom-line (and setting aside the idea that Sony might actually have a corporate conscience, somewhere..). The rule-of-thumb is that the opening weekend box office numbers are the best indicator of which movies are hot and which are stinkers. Ticket sales usually taper off week by week, and never surpass the numbers at the opening. If a movie has a weak opening weekend, everyone assumes that

    • There's no way Sony would be liable for an act of war or terrorist attack due to their decision to air a movie. We can't even hold them responsible for the financial loss and emotional damages that most of their movies already cause, and that is absolutely through their own negligence!

    • Re:yea but (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mlts ( 1038732 ) on Thursday December 18, 2014 @10:55AM (#48625931)

      One local theater chain is doing something about this:

      They replaced the scheduled times of The Interview with a Team America sing-along.

      Sony and the other theater chains have really screwed the US (and the West in general.) They caved in. NK doesn't have a monopoly on hacking, and in the future, this has emboldened every blackhat group worldwide because they know that they can not just breach a company, but actively control what that company does.

      Going into tinfoil hat territory, I wonder if one of the hackers got some dirt on someone high up at Sony (and/or the theater chains) and was blackmailing them with it, so Sony used the NK thing as a way to pull the movie.

  • surely now we should all be afraid enough to allow the MPAA to take control of the internet - only THEY can protect us from TERRORISM, while we're at it lets give the NSA even more access, they can catch the TERRORISTS then they can lock up those filthy movie pirates too....see everyone wins!
  • To hear Sony explain to its shareholders how spending tens of millions of dollars to produce and millions more to promote a movie that they now have no plans to release is a good thing.
    • by Translation Error ( 1176675 ) on Thursday December 18, 2014 @10:31AM (#48625723)

      To hear Sony explain to its shareholders how spending tens of millions of dollars to produce and millions more to promote a movie that they now have no plans to release is a good thing.

      "It's win-win. We avoid the risk of bad publicity from someone blowing up a theatre showing the movie, and with all the attention from the threat combined with the fact that it can't be seen in theatres, home media sales will be through the roof! People will be lining up to buy the movie that was 'too dangerous to be shown in theatres' while thumbing their noses at the terrorists who don't want them to see it."

  • North Korea has nuclear weapons and a million soldier army. They might be hungry but that could drive them over the edge, by now they are more than crazy enough.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Eunuchswear ( 210685 )

      North Korea has nuclear weapons

      And no long distance delivery system

      and a million soldier army.

      And no navy and airforce large enough to protect it as they make their way across the pacific.

      South Korea might have a problem, but elsewhere?

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        South Korea is really the only reason we are pulling our punches with these guys or even care.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 18, 2014 @10:21AM (#48625601)

    They were forced to. And not by the hackers, by the five largest movie chains pulling out. At that point it was best to not show it at all.

    I'm sure Sony will release it on DVD/BluRay/streaming once they get their shit together and beef up their security. Right now though, no, it makes no sense to release the movie to a few small theaters.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
    What's this "we" stuff? Anywhoo, a portion of the "normal" population IS easily paralyzed by fear or prone to hysteria. Sometimes both. Another portion of them think they are but find they are able to act when push comes to shove. If it weren't for the big-ass herd, the first group would quickly be eaten by bears. Since they're not, we just have to deal with their hand-wringing. Sony obviously knows this, since they were very supportive and didn't just say "We think you're being a bunch of pussies, so show
  • The only way to end the "better safe than sorry" stupidity that results in all sorts of cowardice and mayhem from cops shooting on the slightest hint of "I was afeered for muh life" to this is to brutally punish that mentality in court in a very public way. Let the Sony shareholders financially rape the executives who reacted hysterically to such a non-threat. Start putting cops in prison for decades or death row left and right the way ordinary people would. Heck, when one someone starts advocating fundamen

  • My guess is they are more afraid of what is in those emails that hasn't been released yet. Especially if it has something the feds might be interested in or might wreck someone's marriage. Losing 20mil on a movie isn't much compared to that, for an exec that makes millions a year.
    If Sony really wanted to make a statement they could release it on dvd or free with ads on any of the many streaming services.
    If they bow to hacker pressure now, they just painted a larger target on themselves for future hack
  • The theaters already said they would not show it. So what is Sony to do? Release it anyway with only showing in obscure theaters and it gets bad box office earnings, or don't release it until next year sometime when everything has blow over and it can get a shot at a normal opening weekend.
  • The Executives (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Thursday December 18, 2014 @10:32AM (#48625735)
    As soon as I heard this story, I realized it's not Sony Pictures giving in to threats to an AMC in Des Moines - It's likely Sony Pictures execs giving in to threats to themselves and their families: "If you release this movie we'll kill your children."

    Of course I doubt NK has the reach to pull off those threats, but pretty chilling nonetheless...
  • Maybe this has more to do with the threat of releasing more information "if their demands aren't met" than it does the threat of physical attacks? Maybe there really was some backroom discussion between Sony and the big theater chains to scrap the release because of this?

    Or maybe not. It's probably just stupidity.
  • We are not talking about the risk of an attack on the level of 9/11. We are talking about a risk of an attack like Newtown, or Littleton, or the Holocaust Museum, or the Knoxville church, or, to be apropos, Aurora.

    We are talking a movie that has a lot of hype, but may not last past the first weekend. A lot of people were planning on seeing it, but are people going to make a statement and risk some lone gun nut coming in and killing several people

    Is it commercially responsible to pay for the distributi

  • by hipsterdufus ( 42989 ) on Thursday December 18, 2014 @10:37AM (#48625785)

    Here's your main reason:

    If ONE person is injured/killed within a 10 mile radius of a theater and the person doing the killing proclaims any notion of it being done because of the release of the movie, the relatives of the one shot will sue Sony for millions of dollars due to the release of the film that Sony KNEW could unleash terrorism. Imagine if it happened at 5 locations? What about one nutjob in one theater ala the Batman movie a few years ago? Sony would be put at fault for blatantly disregarding public safety by knowingly releasing a film. It's the same reason newspapers won't print an image of Mohammed or that South Park had to pull an episode that was going to show Mohammed.

    Hyper-sensitivity to everything for fear of litigation.

    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      And they would lose badly, being found liable. Once a foreign power is involved normal liability doesn't apply. The law isn't crazy. People die in wars. It is not in the interests of our government to encourage people to cooperate with foreign attackers. That's why you didn't see all sorts of lawsuits regarding minor stuff that happened during 9/11.

    • And yet the last temptation of christ never had that problem despite reams of threat, and at least ONE REAL theater being burned down with molotov cocktail.
  • by jader3rd ( 2222716 ) on Thursday December 18, 2014 @10:38AM (#48625793)
    Nothing else would feed the 24 hour news cycle.
  • While on its face this reaction appears quite stupid, if there were just one physical attack on one theater, the survivors and families of the victims would sue Sony for a lot claiming that they had a credible threat and ignored it.

    Mind you, I believe that they are just using this as a propaganda move. Free publicity, and when it does finally get released the attendance will be significantly higher than it otherwise would have been.

  • Is the nation-state of North Korea capable of setting off a single bomb in a single (basically public) location in the US?

    If we knew that 5 theaters were going to be attacked, but didn't know which, does that mean we should go forward with the opening?

    While I agree with the concern over bending to threats, I think it's a straw man to claim that the issue is whether 18,000 locations can be attacked and so I think the claim of "incapable" is actually wrong.

  • by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi@@@evcircuits...com> on Thursday December 18, 2014 @10:43AM (#48625833) Homepage

    I've been saying this from the get-go, Sony should not be coddled like they are the victim. This hack went on for months and probably for years they've been hiring the cheapest sysadmins overseas and buying 'solutions' from companies "well reviewed" in NetworkWorld (or whatever sponsored magazines middle management gets) to implement on their network that in the end didn't do squat.

    Instead of being coddled, they should be fined for aiding and abetting and breaking privacy laws.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Thursday December 18, 2014 @10:55AM (#48625945) Homepage
    I work in IT. I can practically guarantee you that multiple high level employees of Sony have put evidence in their emails of major sexual peccadilloes. Not to mention discussion of people trying to cover up similar (and worse) crimes committed by Sony stars. It would not surprise me if evidence of affairs, homosexuality, child pornography, rape, and even covering up deaths (accidental or otherwise) was on their servers.

    If North Korea got this information and threatened to reveal it, that would definitely explain why Sony caved quicker than the Iraqian army when first attacked by Isis.

  • by Headw1nd ( 829599 ) on Thursday December 18, 2014 @11:02AM (#48626029)

    Regal Cinema et al. are not really worried about terror strikes. Muslim terrorists have made threats against various movies for decades and it hasn't stopped anything from being shown, and this is from groups that have proven experience blowing things up.

    What these companies are in fact scared shitless is the kind of cyberattack that Sony suffered. As bad as Sony security might have been, I guarantee it was heads and shoulders above what any of these theater chains have in place. Sony was able to shrug off millions in damages, but for AMC it could be lights out. At the very least it would beat out the profits of showing a mediocre comedy. This is why they're scared to show the interview - concerns about "terror attacks" are a smokescreen.

  • by TheDarkener ( 198348 ) on Thursday December 18, 2014 @11:38AM (#48626429) Homepage

    I think this video sums it up pretty well.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • by eepok ( 545733 ) on Thursday December 18, 2014 @11:41AM (#48626471) Homepage

    In the article, the Peter Singer states, "Someone killed 12 people and shot another 70 people at the opening night of Batman: The Dark Knight [Rises]. They kept that movie in the theaters. You issue an anonymous cyber threat that you do not have the capability to carry out? We pulled a movie from 18,000 theaters."

    In some ways, the comparison between the response to this current threat against movie theaters and the rampage that happened 2012 shooting in Aurora, Colorado is appropriate. Both target movie theaters and the people in them. But that's where it ends.

    The Aurora shooting has gone down in history as an unforeseeable tragedy the fault of which lay entirely with the shooter. Everyone said, "This was very sad," and no one's expecting any victims' civil suits to win anything.

    In fairly extreme contrast, ***IF*** Sony were to allow the movie to be shown in theaters and ***IF*** someone attacked a movie theater for any reason relating to the showing of the movie, then Sony would be very publicly acknowledged as having fault in the harm done to theater-goers and would be sued out of existence.

    Everything in this decision has to do with LIABILITY. Even if the probability is extremely low, the potential liability is astronomical. It doesn't make financial sense for Sony to allow the movie to be shown.

    Aside: Notice who the puppets and the puppet-masters are here. Those making the threats hold the strings, but they're not playing Sony. They're playing the American public. They know that the American public are so unhappy with their opportunities to be super-rich that they see legal liability as one of their few chances to get MILLIONS! As such, the nation is extremely risk-averse thus thoroughly negating out espoused resolve to not be susceptible to terroristic threats.

    To be cliche, the enemy is us.

  • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Thursday December 18, 2014 @12:00PM (#48626679) Journal

    is not the same thing as being able to carry out physical, 9/11-style attacks in 18,000 locations simultaneously.

    Who said anything about them having to hit 18,000 locations simultaneously. That isn't how terrorism works. The 911 guys did not have have to hit thousands of targets, they only tried for three, managed only two (counting the WTC complex as a single target) and look at all the trouble they caused!

    A coordinated attack on only a handful of movie theaters the same night would be plenty to cause an economically significant portion of this countries population spend the holiday Christmas - New Years stretch cowering in their homes rather than going out and spending money. It would almost certainly lead to all kinds of wild ill considered national security response.

    Hell look at the Batman Shooting a few years ago. It takes one suicide attacker to "hit" a theater with essentially no real resources. A few thousand in counterfeit notes (which DPRK has produced in the past) would allow would be assailants to put together the arsenal they need. Its perfectly plausible even DPRK could get three or four people into this country with limited fake credentials and no access to anything privileged enough to do even a basic background check.

    I am not saying "OMG we all going to die here" but you can't completely dismiss the threat either here. Having hit Sony they have already demonstrated some capability.

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