The repercussions of the hacking of Sony continue to grow. Although, it still has not been definitively determined that the North Korean government was behind the sophisticated hacking of Sony in retaliation for the release of the James Franco, Seth Rogen movie “The Interview” in which Franco and Rogen attempt to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, forensic evidence appears to indicate that the hackers most likely had ties to the North Korean government. Along with the release of embarrassing emails, released and unreleased movies and much financial information about Sony, the hackers have also threatened to release myriads of personal data of Sony employees that would be easily used to make those employees victims of identity theft. Now in a recent communication, the hackers have threatened violence likened by the hackers to that of 9/11 at theaters showing the movie slated to open on Christmas day.
In an interesting development, in a headline the New York Daily News called Howard Stern an “idiot” for likening the Sony hacking to the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The Daily News’ headline could not be more ill timed as it was just a few hours later that the hackers threatened a 9/11 type attack on theaters. In response, Sony has cancelled the Christmas opening of the film. However, even beyond this threat of violence, Stern is correct in recognizing that just as the attack of 9/11 ushered in a new era of terrorist attacks, the attack on Sony could well be ushering in a new era of destructive cyberterrorism that, in fact, could have a devastating effect on world economies.
In a further development, two class action lawsuits have already been filed by former employees and present employees of Sony alleging, among other things, that Sony was extremely negligent in the protection of personal information thereby making them vulnerable to the hacking.
The Sony hacking is just the latest example of the fact that despite your best efforts to protect your privacy and your personal information that in the wrong hands can be used to make you a victim of identity theft, you are only as secure as the government agencies and companies that have your information with the weakest security. Therefore it is incumbent upon us all to both limit the places that have our personal information as much as possible and to monitor our accounts and credit report regularly for indications of security breaches.