Sony Pictures Entertainment is working with the FBI to find the culprit behind last week’s embarrassing and disruptive cyber attack while one potential suspect – the North Korean government – has denied involvement, according to news reports.
A North Korean diplomat told Reuters Thursday that the country’s government was not behind the Sony studios hacking, which shut down the computer systems at the Sony (SNE) subsidiary last week and led to the release of a number of sensitive financial documents and passwords for the its computers and bank accounts. The official, whose identity was not reported, claimed that North Korea adheres to international agreements that ban hacking and piracy.
On Wednesday, rumors surfaced that Sony Pictures planned to blame North Korea for the cyber attack. Kim Jong Un previously called the company’s pending release of the film The Interview — a comedy depicting an assassination plot against the North Korean leader — “an act of war.” A group of hackers called G.O.P., or Guardians of Peace, took initial credit for the hack, but little is known about the identities of the group’s members or the motivation for their attack.
On Thursday, BuzzFeed sorted through the latest batch of documents released by the hackers and found a file directory with the obvious title of “Password,” which reportedly held more than 100 documents containing thousands of passwords used for Sony Pictures’ computer systems as well as some of its social media accounts. Some passwords even appeared to be attached to certain departments’ American Express and Fidelity financial accounts as well as various vendor accounts such as Amazon and FedEx, according to BuzzFeed.
That data dump followed the release of documents detailing the multi-million dollar salaries paid to actors James Franco and Seth Rogen, who star in The Interview. Other sensitive information released by the hackers includes a 2012 document detailing comments and suggestions that Sony Pictures employees apparently submitted to the company with ideas for improving corporate strategy.
Earlier this week, hackers released documents containing salary information for thousands of Sony Pictures employees — data that revealed a glaring racial and gender gap among the company’s top-paid executives. At least five movies distributed by Sony Pictures also leaked to the Web early this week, including the remake of the musical Annie and the October-released war epic Fury.