Top Sony executives have condemned the “vicious” cyber assault that forced the company to hastily postpone the Christmas day release of its satirical film The Interview.
During his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas today, Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai publicly reprimanded the Guardians of Peace (GOP) hackers who repeatedly infiltrated the company’s digital network. Hirai also noted how proud he was of those who stood up against the flagrant “extortionist” attacks, adding he would be “remiss” if he did not mention the misfortune of the last several weeks.
“Both Sony, former employees and current employees were the victim of one of the most vicious and malicious cyber attacks in recent history,” Hirai noted in an unscripted moment prior to his press conference at the CES.
The Japanese based firm had their internal system repeatedly broken into by GOP, which stole gigantic amounts of sensitive material, including documents, email addresses, personal emails, health information, employee salaries and more. Entire films Sony had yet to release were digitally hijacked and uploaded online via various torrent sites. A large amount of additional material (some 100 terabytes were reportedly stolen) was dumped altogether, a lot of it exposed publicly. Conflicting reports seemed to point to North Korea at first, which was later confirmed to be the case by the FBI.
The result forced Sony to initially pull The Interview out of theaters on its planned Christmas day release, but after a throng of Internet support and protest, Sony decided to run the film on various platforms of exhibition. The film has so far grossed just under $5 million at the box-office, and an additional $15 million or so via digital download.
Just before he concluded his keynote speech in Las Vegas, Hirai went on to express how proud he is of all the employees and all the people behind the scenes that worked relentlessly to bring The Interview to the public. The Sony chief then stressed the paramount importance of freedom to the overall integrity of the Sony way. Free speech, free expression and free association, Hirai noted, are of the utmost importance to Sony and its entertainment business.
The Interview is currently playing in theaters around the country and can be downloaded on a number of digital outlets.