The Hackers' New Threats Show Just How Unique The Cyber Attack On Sony Has Been


seth rogen james franco Kevin Winter/Getty ImagesSeth Rogen (R), who wrote and costarred in "The Interview," and James Franco during the premiere in Los Angeles on Dec. 11, 2014.

The group claiming to be behind the Sony hack has stepped up its campaign of intimidation by threatening to carry out terrorist attacks against movie theaters, media outlets report citing a message on filesharing services. 


The Guardians of Peace (GOP), a group that is believed to have some kind of connection to North Korea, has threatened to carry out attacks against movie theaters that screen the Seth Rogen and James Franco film The Interview, in which two talk show hosts are sent to the country to assassinate Kim Jong-Un.

"Warning," GOP warned on filesharing sites. "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 world will be full of fear," the hacker group went on to warn. "Remember the 11th of September 2001." 

The warning of physical terror attacks has substantially upped the ante of the previous cyber attack against the company. Though unprecedented in its severity and in its likely state backing, the Sony hack currently is not definable as an act of war. But any terrorist attack carried out against US targets would increase the chances of a military confrontation. 


Currently, there are is no definite proof linking North Korea to the GOP. But Pyongyang has voiced strong support over the Sony hack, indicating that the GOP is likely a proxy group run by North Korea.

"The hacking into the SONY Pictures might be a righteous deed of the supporters and sympathizers with the DPRK in response to its appeal," the Korean Central News Agency stated in a report. "What matters here is that the US set the DPRK as the target of the investigation, far from reflecting on its wrongdoings and being (ashamed) of being taken unawares."

Whether or not this is a credible threat, the prospect of terrorism over The Interview's premier and release ultimately serves the purposes of the North Korean officials and supporters who want Sony to scrap the film. 

Sony is already reeling from the steady release of 12 terabytes of personal data stolen from Sony's internal servers. And if the the film is pulled, state-backed hackers would have coerced a major US company into significantly altering its practices, causing them to shelve one of their products out of fear of the commercial or reputational damage that would follow another cyber attack.

Again, this doens't fit the US's definition of an act of cyber war, which requires some kind of physical damage as the result of a hack. But the new threats underscore just how unique the Sony hacks have been. With North Korea's involvement, the incident combines "national rivalry, hacker ideology, performance art, ritual humiliation and data combustion, culminating in complete corporate chaos," as John Gapper explained in the Financial Times. And the hackers are now attempting to raise the stakes even higher.


Sony already announced on Monday, before the threat was posted, that it was scaling down the New York premier of The Interview on Thursday. 

Read the full message below (via BuzzFeed):


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.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you'd better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.