Sony Hack Cripples Network, Releases Reams of Private Data

Hacker concept with hand wearing black leather glove pressing enThe next time you need to explain how severely a data breach can affect a company, the prime example isn’t the Dec. 2013 Target hack – it’s Sony.

Sony Pictures Entertainment has suffered what may have been the most massive corporate attack in history, leaking upcoming movies, releasing private data on executive salaries, and ravaging its computer network. And unlike other corporate breaches, the hackers didn’t just want to steal data – they wanted to send a message, posting disturbing images on computer screens of studio execs’ severed heads.

Among the data leaked:

  • Employee passwords
  • Social Security numbers
  • Executive salaries
  • Performance reviews, and
  • A file called “Sony_2012_Comments,” which contains a long file of negative employee feedback (much of which seems devoted to their hatred of the Adam Sandler movies they produce).

Here’s how badly the hack affected day-to-day business: Sony had to shut down its internal computer network to stop data-wiping malware from causing further damage, forcing employees to use paper and pens.

The breach has revealed at least a few company-wide security issues. Among them: A folder named “Password,” released by the hackers, contains thousands of private passwords, stored in plaintext documents without any kind of protection.

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