With the upcoming Sony Pictures film The Interview going out of its way to lampoon the supreme leader of North Korea, the heavily isolated country may have just retaliated against the studio for having the “audacity” to create a comedy centered around their most prominent citizen. According to a piece at The Hollywood Reporter (via tech site Re/code), a recent intrusion into the computer systems of Sony Pictures Entertainment may have been perpetrated by hackers based in China, on orders from the leadership in Pyongyang.
This past Tuesday, Sony released a brief statement saying that they were internally investigating a breach in their computer systems. The THR piece reads in part,
Re/code reports that on Monday, a hacker group called the Guardians of Peace or #GOP left an image bearing a message on the screens of computers of SPE employees. The message was said to have threatened to release sensitive date stolen from Sony’s servers if the #GOP’s demands were not met. The attack also locked SPE employees out of their computers forcing them to use paper and pen.
Some of the supposedly sensitive files were said to have leaked to reddit on Wednesday, but the authenticity of the files has not been confirmed.
The Interview, releasing this Christmas, details the story of two celebrity journalists (played by Seth Rogen and James Franco) who manage to score an interview with the North Korean supreme leader, Kim Jong-un. Learning about this, the CIA try to coordinate with the two men in a plot to assassinate the head of state.
Previously, North Korea (who prefer to be known by their nation’s full title of the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” or DPRK) had vehemently denounced the creation of the film, promising stern consequences to the filmmakers if it were to be released as planned. In a recent appearance on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” co-star Seth Rogen called that “the best publicity” they could’ve ever hoped to get for the forthcoming picture.
Generally seen as one of the most isolated countries in the world with very few governments willing to trade with them, North Korea has a rather storied history of charged and hyperbolic language toward the western world, even though their general infrastructure is substantially inferior to the powers they often find themselves vigorously opposing. As the THR story also points out, the country has threatened some kind of retaliation for other forms of disparaging media that has been created, including a Chinese viral video of all things, and a recent UK-made drama entitled Opposite Number, featuring a British nuclear scientist that is captured by the DPRK and forced to work on that country’s own fledgling nuclear program. DPRK officials condemned the series as a “slanderous farce.”
Regardless of whether or not the hack came from the isolated country or not, The Interview will be released in the U.S. on December 25th.
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