VIRTUALLY CRUSHED MOVIE COMPANY Sony Pictures has reportedly written to Twitter and asked it to put a lid on an account that is gleefully sharing links and information from documents leaked by the Guardians of Peace.
Sony, which has gone into something of a retro mode on the communications front, and in a compliance mode on the terror demands front, wrote to Twitter earlier this week, according to reports, and asked it to block access to a movie appreciation account and a website site called BikiniRobotArmy.
We have asked Twitter to confirm this, and are waiting for the firm to respond. In the meantime the BikiniRobotArmy account has been posting and retweeting comments about the unexpected approach.
A scan of the BikiniRobotArmy account shows that it has studied the leaked documents closely and has covered them in great detail. The account, and associated website, are run by creative music artist Val Broeksmit.
The letter has been shared online by sites including The Wall Street Journal and shows Sony making a stand for its documents and reminding Twitter that it probably should not be sharing stolen information.
"We are writing to confirm, as we believe Twitter is already well aware, that SPE does not consent to Twitter's or any Twitter account holder's possession, review, copying, dissemination, publication, uploading, downloading, or making any use of the stolen information," it said.
"[And] to request your cooperation in suspending the account holder's Twitter account and the account of any other user seeking to disseminate the stolen information via Twitter."
We have asked Twitter and Broeksmit to comment.
This week the FBI released information about its investigation into the Guardians of Peace attack on Sony Pictures, saying that North Korea is responsible.
The agency said that it has worked closely with Sony since the attack took place, and has now found enough hallmarks to name a suspect. North Korea has denied its involvement, and offered to assist in the investigation.
The FBI is unlikely to accept that assistance, as it is convinced that North Korea is to blame.
"Sony reported this incident within hours, which is what the FBI hopes all companies will do when facing a cyber attack. Sony's quick reporting facilitated the investigators' ability to do their jobs, and ultimately to identify the source of these attacks," the FBI said.
"As a result of our investigation, and in close collaboration with other US government departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions."
Details on the investigation and the techniques are light, but the FBI has revealed that the malware used was common to other attacks on the US and South Korea, as were the techniques and tools.
"The FBI also observed significant overlap between the infrastructure used in this attack and other malicious cyber activity the US government has previously linked directly to North Korea," the FBI added.
"We are deeply concerned about the destructive nature of this attack on a private sector entity and the ordinary citizens who worked there.
"Further, North Korea's attack on Sony reaffirms that cyber threats pose one of the gravest national security dangers to the US."
The hackers, who told Sony to pull The Interview, have called off the release of further stolen data after the studio gave in to their demands.
Sony decided not to release The Interview, CNN reports, and top Sony executives have received an email from the hacking group stating that it will leave the firm alone for now.
"It's very wise that you have made a decision cancel the release of The Interview. It will be very useful for you," the message reads. "We will assure the security of your data unless you make additional trouble."
Sony pulled The Interview from release on Wednesday after terror threats and cinemas declining to show the film.
Sony faced increasing threats in the run up to the premiere of the film, but the Guardians of Peace (GOP) group behind the high-profile attacks issued a chilling new warning.
This forced the entertainment company's hand, Sony admitted in an official statement.
"In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned 25 December theatrical release," Sony said.
"We respect and understand our partners' decisions and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theatre-goers."
However, that came from a source who declined to be identified, and there was no official announcement until now.
North Korea previously dismissed suggestions that it is directly behind the attack on Sony Pictures, but did concede that it could be the work of one of its glorious supporters.
"We do not know where in America Sony Pictures is situated and for what wrongdoings it became the target of the attack, nor do we feel the need to know about it," it said in a statement.
Sony initially told cinema owners that they could cancel screenings of the comedy after the group responsible for the hack threatened theatres that chose to show it.
GOP posted the message on Tuesday, invoking the 9/11 terrorist attacks and warning cinemagoers to avoid seeing the movie, which is about an assassination attempt on North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
"We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places The Interview be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to," the message warned.
"We recommend you to keep yourself distant from [Cinemas]... If your house is nearby, you'd better leave... Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment."
This warning came after Sony warned its current and former employees to be aware that hackers could use their stolen data, including detailed personal information, after the epic breach on its systems last month.
According to Reuters, the company said that the hackers could use private information such as social security numbers, credit card details, bank account information, healthcare information and compensation and other employment-related information.
This warning came just days after the producers of the upcoming James Bond film confirmed that an early version of the script was among the material stolen by hackers in the same breach.
Eon Productions, which has produced 23 James Bond films since 1962, said it learned of the leak of the screenplay on Saturday.
"An early version of the screenplay for the new Bond film Spectre is amongst the material stolen and illegally made public by hackers who infiltrated the Sony Pictures Entertainment computer system," a statement reads on the movie's official website.
In case you missed it, Sony Pictures Entertainment's servers were breached on 25 November and there has been a plethora of reports regarding leaked emails and information about major Hollywood movies, deals and celebrities ever since.
The hackers have also threatened the firm, leaked its remake of Annie, and posted Sylvester Stallone's social security number online.
The stolen Spectre screenplay hasn't yet been published, but Eon Productions is worried that the hackers might make some or all of its contents public at some point in the near future.
"The screenplay for Spectre is the confidential information of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Danjaq LLC, and is protected by the laws of copyright in the UK and around the world," the statement continues.
"It may not (in whole or in part) be published, reproduced, disseminated or otherwise utilised by anyone who obtains a copy of it.
"Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Danjaq LLC will take all necessary steps to protect their rights against the persons who stole the screenplay, and against anyone who makes infringing uses of it or attempts to take commercial advantage of confidential property it knows to be stolen."
However, it was also revealed that Sony didn't make it too difficult for the hackers to breach its systems, and held passwords in a file named 'passwords'.
The password file included log-ins for services like Facebook and something called MySpace - no, us neither - and suggests that someone at Sony needs a lesson in security, or at the very least, a lesson in file-naming.
Data management software firm - natch - Identity Finder, trawled through the documents and found details from as far back as 1995.
"As we have seen from the myriad data breaches this year, every organisation is vulnerable to an attack," said the firm in a statement. "Security technologies are an important shield, but minimising the target and reducing the footprint of sensitive data is more critical than ever."
Security researchers from Trend Micro also previously apart malware described in a recent FBI malware warning, and traced it back to the attacks on Sony.
The firm analysed the FBI document and was able to identify the code in question, which it has called BKDR_WIPALL.
Before this image was found the team was not so sure, and declined to link Sony and the attack.
"TrendLabs engineers were recently able to obtain a sample of the 'destructive malware described in reports about the FBI warning to US businesses last December 2'," said the first report from the firm.
"As of this writing, the link between the Sony breach and the malware mentioned by the FBI has yet to be verified."
That did not last long, however, and after some additional probling the researchers pulled out a plum of a piece of evidence.
"This appears to be the same wallpaper described in reports about the recent Sony hack last November 24 bearing the phrase ‘hacked by #GOP'," they wrote about the image.
"Therefore we have reason to believe that this is the same malware used in the recent attack on Sony Pictures."
According to other reports, Sony has hired the services of security firm Mandiant, which is part of FireEye, to aid in the clean up and, presumably, forensic work.
We have asked both parties to comment on this, or confirm the arrangement. Mandiant declined. µ
Happy happy, joy joy
Because 7nm, geddit?
Machines go loco across Blighty
Imitation is the sincerest form of twattery