Americans are revisiting their experiences with terror via the Sony Pictures Entertainment cyber attack — but the latest warning from the attackers escalated on Tuesday to the real thing.
The hacker group calling itself ‘Guardians of Peace’ which began a massive cyber-siege against Sony on November 24 told movie-goers to avoid seeing the upcoming new movie “The Interview,” or else.
The attack is believed to have been launched by North Korea in retaliation for the film’s plot line, which is a comedy revolving around the assassination of that country’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un. North Korea has made it clear it is outraged by the plot and although it officially denied having carried out the attack, lavishly praised those who did.
A nuclear reactor destroyed in northeastern Syria September 6, 2007 by Israel in order to prevent the production of weapons of mass destruction was being built at the time by North Korean technicians, according to international media reports at the time. North Korea had for years been a player in the Middle East, sharing its nuclear technology with Syria and other players, swapping expertise with Iran.
In June, North Korea called on Washington DC to block the release of the controversial comedy “The Interview” or face a “decisive and merciless countermeasure,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Warning. 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,” read the note allegedly written by the hacker group.
“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.”
The warning was issued at approximately 9:30 am together with another barrage of files linked to Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton.
The FBI still sees “no credible evidence of a threat” but is taking the issue seriously, as are a number of cyber security firms. “The FBI is aware of recent threats and continues to work collaboratively with our partners to investigate the Sony attack,” the FBI told the Times in an email.
Likewise, Ralph Echemendia, head of Red E-Digital once worked with Sony on cyber security issues and told the Times Tuesday, “This now borders on terrorist activity and would define the Guardians of Peace as a terrorist group.”
The LA premier of the film was held at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel last week despite the hacker attack. Security was ramped up, as was the pace of the event. No interviews were allowed on the red carpet.
A similar studio premier is set for New York City this Thursday at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema, on the Lower East Side. But given the challenges already facing the city’s police department from the groundswell of protests around the Big Apple, it is unlikely that studio execs will be willing to risk much more than a fairly modest affair. Nevertheless, beyond that point, the film is expected to hit theaters as scheduled on December 25.