So the big tech news that's being talked about in non-tech circles right now is the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment's computers. If you're reading this blog, I'm 99.44% certain that you've heard about this event, but for the sake of that .56% chance you haven't, let me quickly recap.

 

A group calling itself the Guardians of Peace hacked into Sony's computers and have released copies of internal emails, letting the world read embarrassing conversations between Sony's executives. They also released copies of movies not yet or only recently released, and released lists of some Sony employees' personal information, including Social Security numbers.

 

It seems that all this is being done in response to the Seth Rogen movie The Interview in which he and James Franco play journalists who get tasked by the CIA to kill Kim Jong-un, leader of North Korea. The hackers recently threatened violence against theaters that showed the film, invoking the September 11, 2001 attacks by name.

 

I'll admit that I was rather surprised at how quickly the major movie theater chains announced that they wouldn't be showing the film, as well as when Sony canceled the release of the film itself. There's the saying that you don't negotiate with terrorists, but that means you don't give them what you want. It doesn't mean you give in immediately without arguing, which is what happened here. To be honest, I wasn't interested in this movie, but when I heard about the threats, I decided then and there that I would buy a ticket. You can't give in to people like this. It only encourages more of the same.

 

Beyond that, there's the consideration that nothing that I've heard, read, or seen makes me believe these people are capable of pulling off any sort of physical violence. They're computer hackers, not hardened soldiers or seasoned fighters. This didn't seem like a credible threat to me, so I have to ask if Sony knows something about the Guardians of Peace that hasn't been revealed, or if there's an angle that hasn't been revealed. According to Wikipedia, it cost $44 million to make this movie. Are the hackers threatening to release information that Sony is so desperate to keep unseen that it's willing to lose this investment rather than see it go public?

 

Sony would have been better off spending more money on protecting their systems. I don't know how the attack penetrated their defenses, but if they'd been properly protected and hardened, and if their employees had been trained in resisting attacks like spear-phishing, it's unlikely this would have become such a big deal.