Sony hackers demand studio stop showing ‘The Interview’

By Anousha Sakou

The hackers who broke into Sony Pictures’ computers released new files and warned the studio not to show “The Interview,” the Seth Rogen comedy about a plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“Stop immediately showing the movie of terrorism which can break the regional peace and cause the war,” the group calling itself GOP, or Guardians of Peace, said in a statement posted yesterday on the website Github, along with links to a fourth set of files. “You, Sony & FBI, cannot find us.”

The hackers didn’t name the film directly. The latest post marks the first time they have demanded the studio halt the release of “The Interview,” which has drawn scorn from North Korean officials. The picture is scheduled to open on Dec. 25. The studio has been holding screenings, including inSan Francisco on Nov. 18.

The latest message calls out Amy Pascal, head of the studio’s film business, and Steve Mosko, who runs the television group, as possible targets. “Their Privacy,” the message said without elaborating. The hackers have already published personal details including pay at Sony Corp. (SNE)’s Culver City, California-based studio.

Some links to the newest data, reported yesterday by the Wall Street Journal, were removed.

Shares (6758) of Sony Corp. fell 4 percent to 2,486 yen at the close of trade in Tokyo. The Tokyo-based company fell 3.3 percent yesterday after saying users of its PlayStation Network experienced difficulty connecting to the Internet.

War Room
A spokesman for Sony declined to comment. Pascal is co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and chairman of its motion pictures group. Mosko is president of Sony Pictures Television.

Senior Sony executives will brief employees directly on developments in the investigation, Sony Entertainment Chief Executive Officer Michael Lynton said yesterday in an e-mail to staff. FBI staff will be available on Dec. 10 to brief employees on cybersecurity awareness, and the studio will have an all-hands meeting on Dec. 12, he said.

Sony was pressing ahead with the promotion and release of the film, with another screening scheduled for Dec. 11 in Los Angeles. FBI investigators are working from a war room on theCulver City lot as they seek to contain the fallout, two people familiar with the situation said.

An FBI spokesman, Josh Campbell, declined to comment.

“The Interview” cost about $44 million to produce, according to documents released by the hackers. The film may get a boost at the box office from the controversy. Millions have gone online to view trailers of the picture since computers crashed at Sony Pictures on Nov. 24.

Photographer: Miquel Benitez/Getty ImagesSeth Rogen poses during a photocall for his latest film “The Interview” in Barcelona,… Read More
The hackers sent an e-mail on Nov. 21 to Pascal and to Lynton, demanding “monetary compensation” to avoid “great damages,” Mashable reported earlier, citing the latest documents released.

A spokeswoman for Sony declined to comment on the e-mail.

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