Sony Pictures Entertainment was forced to shut down its worldwide email and computer network on Monday after being targeted by hackers who threatened to reveal the company’s “secrets.” A message entitled “Hacked by #GOP” with a picture of a skeleton in the background appeared on company computers Monday morning, Deadline.com reported. “We’ve already warned you, and this is just a beginning,” the message read, going on to state that the hackers have obtained “all your internal data including your secrets and top secrets.” They then threatened to release the data by 11 p.m. if their demands aren’t met, but no demands have apparently been made clear yet.
Sony Pictures Entertainment suffered a widespread hack that rendered the film studio’s computer systems useless, in a twist right out of a cybersecurity thriller movie. Employees of the Culver City-based studio who tried to log on to their work computers Monday were greeted with an ominous warning. An image of a sneering red skeleton appeared on the screen under “Hacked By #GOP,” reportedly short for “Guardians of Peace,” and a list of threats. Then the system went dark. Staff from coast to coast couldn’t log on to computers or access email, bringing the workday to a crawl. They were reduced to using old-fashioned pen and paper to complete assignments and taking calls on landline telephones. “We even fired up our fax machine,” one person said. The hacker group’s warning that popped up on computers had overtones of blackmail to Sony, the company behind movies such as “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and TV shows including “The Blacklist.” Without specifying demands, the group warned Sony that it had obtained “secrets” and threatened to leak them to the Web. The hackers said they would release internal information late Monday, but there was no indication that they followed through.