By now, everyone is aware of the massive data breach at Sony Pictures Entertainment. The extent of the attack was unprecedented. The hackers disabled its internal computer systems as well as stole and then leaked five major movies including the recent Brad Pitt movie, “Fury” and the yet to be released new version of “Annie.” In addition, and most damaging to those people affected, the hackers also accessed files with personal information of 47,000 Sony employees that included their Social Security numbers thereby placing those employees, including Sylvester Stallone and Judd Apatow in serious danger of identity theft. One of the troubling aspects to this hacking is that much of the stolen material was easily accessed by opening an unprotected file directory entitled “Password” that contained thousands of Sony passwords to its internal computers, social media accounts and web services accounts. The North Korean government has been considered by many to be behind this attack, which contains many similarities to similar attacks done by the North Korean government against South Korean businesses and government agencies. The motive behind the attack has been thought to be in retaliation for the upcoming Sony movie “The Interview” starring James Franco and Seth Rogen which is a comedy involving a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jon-Un. Investigators are still trying to determine the actual source of the attack.
Despite Sony’s statements that it did everything in its power to prevent such an attack, such statements seem disingenuous, when you consider the unprotected “Password” computer file, the failure of Sony to limit Internet access to sensitive files and the lack of basic security measures that would have provided much protection against such an attack. Hopefully, this hacking will serve as a much needed wake up call to companies to increase their security immediately. As for individual victims of the hacking whose Social Security numbers have been compromised, they should immediately contact the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian and place a credit freeze on their credit reports to limit access to their credit reports by identity thieves who may have their Social Security numbers. You can go to the Scamicide.com archives to see how to put a credit freeze on your account. They should also carefully monitor all of their financial accounts much more often for the first signs of identity theft.