Quick Q: What did/could North Korea actually do to Paramount / Sony?

This may be more speculation than fact, but thought I’d try it here first, if I may:

Firstly, can anyone explain what the first attack was, specifically?

Also, I’m interested in what is thought that North Korea (or whomever may be the ghost in the wires) could actually practicably do in retribution to the proposed showings of Team America: World Police in lieu of The Interview, in that I see that Paramount have now pulled the showings in fear of… something.

Is there any clear idea of what the continued threat is, or is all this simply a bit OTT reactive? Thanks.

Well there’s was a threat of “9/11 style attacks” on theatres that show the movie, but it seems more likely that some of the data the hackers extracted was of such value to sony that they were prepared to take this extreme measure to keep it quiet (though of course, if that’s the case, the hackers have sony by the balls indefinitely).

As to what North Korea could do, I would think all bets are off, because few people would have thought them capable of the hacking in the first place.
The attack was made from outside NK, and it’s believed they had outside help, so what they are capable of doing next depends on what that outside help is capable of doing next. AFAIK this is all still unclear.

Hope this develops into a Great Debate, want to add more :slight_smile:

In terms of actual violence, on US soil?
Sony must have something in the files the Exes really don’t want coming out, like a VP’s Kiddie Porn collection or somethin’.

They could do quite a lot of economic damage, at least in theory.

Films are mostly distributed digitally, so they could be wiped / tampered with.

POS machines might be able to be hacked, so you couldn’t buy movie tickets.

According to some random talking head I saw on TV, new movies are often made without backups (to reduce the risk of theft). A few fingers in the right servers and suddenly there are no new movies.

It seems to me that if all the major theater chains have declined to show the movie, there is not much point in releasing it.

Since there are not thousands of hidden North Koreans in the US, the threat of violence seems not credible. But the hacking threat is real enough. So there is very little to gain and at least something to lose.

Why hasn’t the movie chains taken any of the heat?

Whatever, the point in all this is that in a battle between Sony and North Korea, right thinking men support North Korea.

Can that possibly be true? That sounds unlikely to me, or there must be some nuance to it. I can’t imagine running a multi million dollar project and having it all crash down when a couple hard drives go on the fritz. it just seems so reckless to me, but who knows?

Or they could just plan on releasing it in three months as “the film the North Koreans didn’t want you to see!”. The advance reviews are pretty medicore, and a little “righteous viewing” will probably boost the box office at that point.

Slate has reported that the company’s entire computer system has been trashed, to the point where it may not have a functioning payroll.

I was talking about this yesterday with a friend who works in the entertainment industry. Regarding the email hacks, he said the information stolen was mostly along the lines of who’s been having extramarital affairs, or who’s HIV+ and wants to keep it hidden, stuff like that – not necessarily illegal, but potentially career-damaging. Threatening to expose those kinds of secrets really freaks Hollywood people out.


I assume this is intended as a joke, but I’m not sure who it’s directed at. At any rate, let’s keep political jabs out of GQ.

General Questions Moderator

Yikes. That’s a lot of people who won’t get their paychecks on time!

Obama’s minions were talking about a “proportional response.” But what would that be? North Korea probably has like 5 computers in the entire country, and for certain their infrastructure is not computer-dependant, so a hack attack against them seems unlikely to accomplish much. I also heard talk of a “covert response,” but the cynical part of me is wondering if this is just a clever way of doing nothing, while creating plausible deniability that they did respond, but they can’t tell you how because, you know, classified and all that.

If it’s a mediocre film then I think that’s probably not worth the risk at this point.
If I were in their position, I would have the film leak on to bittorrent and claim it was not Sony’s doing.
It makes the terrorists “lose” with relatively little risk of anything further happening.

Who in gods name puts that kind of stuff on company email servers??? Freaking idiots. All of that is up for grabs by the powers that be (your boss).

It appears a lot of posters here forget how unpredictable and recklessly violent north Korea has behaved in the past. Not only has NK previously sent agents into Japan to kidnap individuals, but it has also killed American soldiers over something as trivial as a tree (see operation Paul Bunyan). This makes it hard to predict what NK is capable of doing in the US (and no, it’s not particularly difficult for a NK agent to enter the US – scores of people do that every year without the proper documentation).

North Korea can release more of the data that they stole. I strongly suspect this is the real reason that the Sony is not releasing the movie, not because they’re too worried about any kind of violent attack.

I heard some talking heads expressing skepticism that this was a North Korean action.

Basically, the attack was just too sophisticated, indicated a good internal knowledge of Sony networks. The fellow mentioned that Sony had laid off a large number of people recently, including a lot of IT guys. More likely someone passed this on to a group like Anonymous.

Plus, the original hack publicity never mentioned The Interview, it’s only been a topic after the original hack. The group used a clever name - do you think the North Koreans have enough sense of humor to use “GOP”? It’s not even the right party, and this isn’t their typical modus operandi to pose as a publicity-seeking hacker group.

Worst case they supported the GOP group, more likely they piled on when they saw the opportunity.

As another commentator said - it may not be in theatres, but it will probably do very well in DVD and streaming.

Another comment I saw was that Sony offices were digging out the XP machines that were stuck in the closets years ago in order to get something that works.

I’m trying to imagine how North Korea could have trained people to do something like this. (Even if it wasn’t them, everyone seems to assume it could have been.) I thought virtually everyone in the DPRK was so isolated that they’d never seen the real internet/WWW (not the censored internal one).

Hollywood math* is pretty famous, where they use several rounds of shell companies, expense everything they can think of, and so on, such that it looks like no movie ever makes any money, and the production companies end up paying almost no taxes.

If the hackers haven’t already released enough information to allow the IRS to compare what’s been reported to what actually was earned, then it’s certainly something looming that would make Sony Pictures very unhappy (and the IRS ecstatic).

  • I might have the term wrong, since it’s not coming up on Wikipedia.

It’s not just math, it’s accounting.

That said, I don’t know that most Hollywood-style accounting shenanigans would rise to the level of illegality, so I’d be mildly surprised if that were it. (It is Sony, so I wouldn’t completely discount the possibility of cooked books, but I’d still be surprised at any major corporation stupid enough to try it. Even Sony.)

ETA: So you might say “OK, even if it’s not illegal, having the accounting practices exposed would look terrible.” Is it possible to look worse than abject surrender to unsubstantiated threats from mythical uberhackers?