Mainstream media has covered the recent Sony Pictures Entertainment hack fairly well. The hack stirred up a lot of drama between the studio and some big-name Hollywood stars. In fact, it’s gotten so much coverage that on December 14, Sony asked the media to stop covering the hacks saying it “will have no choice but to hold [media outlets] responsible for any damages or loss.” But what the media is largely leaving out is that the Federal Bureau of Investigations issued a five-page, confidential “flash” FBI warning to businesses describing the particular type of malicious malware involved. The warning did not make specific reference to the Sony hack, but two cybersecurity experts who reviewed the document said it was clearly referring to that breach.
While the report does not mention if any other American businesses have been attacked, the FBI has asked businesses to be on the lookout for this type of malware and to contact the FBI if they identify similar attacks. The FBI is working with the Department of Homeland Security to look into the breach. Meanwhile, Sony has hired FireEye Inc.’s Mandiant incident response team to help clean up. According to the report, the malware overrides all data on computer hard drives, including the master boot record, which then prevents the computer from booting up. Because all of the data files are overwritten, it is “extremely difficult and costly, if not impossible, to recover the data using standard forensic methods,” the report said. Security experts said that repairing the computers requires technicians to manually either replace the hard drives on each computer, or re-image them, a time-consuming and expensive process.
At this point, the attackers are still unknown. Some believe the attack originated in North Korea as retaliation for an upcoming film, “The Interview,” due to be released in the U.S. and Canada on Dec. 25. That connection, however, has not been validated at this point. The technical section of the FBI report did say some of the software used by the hackers had been compiled in Korean, but it did not discuss any possible connection to North Korea. If you need more information on this subject, contact Rhon Jones or Rebecca Gilliland, lawyers in our firm, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Rhon.Jones@beasleyallen.com or Rebecca.Gilliland@beasleyallen.com.
Sources: Reuters and Time.com
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