Sony’s been hacked again, but these attacks – which are opposition for an upcoming movie release – may just be history repeating itself, as one of the greatest movies of all-time received similar opposition as it made its way to theaters.
Director Orson Welles began working on the movie Citizen Kane in 1939. Welles developed the script of the film around newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, and the movie revealed a number of unsavory details regarding Hearst’s life.
When Hearst got word of the film, he banned any mention of it from his newspapers, removed it from theaters, and threatened lawsuits against Welles and the studio he worked at. Hearst put so much pressure on Hollywood to stop the film from premiering that other studio executives offered $805,000 to have the movie destroyed before it was released. It was released, and now sits at the number one spot on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 Greatest American Films of all Time.
Fast forward to Sony, the Playstation hack, and their upcoming film, The Interview.
Sony had over 100 terabytes of internal data stolen, five movies prematurely released, and yesterday, another hack left gamers offline for hours, reminiscent of when Sony was hacked last year.
The most recent hack on the Playstation gaming network was actually executed by a different group, known as the Lizard Squad. This Russian-based group initiated the Playstation hack shortly after they claimed to have shutdown the Xbox Live infrastructure. The group has this is just a “small dose” of what they have in store.
This hack appears to be unrelated to the massive data leak that began last week, but both the data leak and the Playstation hack show serious issues in Sony’s security systems.
This isn’t the first occurrence of user data from online gameplay being compromised in Playstation’s history. The first hack happened in 2013, and Sony was fined $400,000 for theft of user data.
But even more interesting than the hacks themselves are the hacker’s demands. According to the Wall Street Journal, they want Sony to stop the release of The Interview, a movie about North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un.
“Stop immediately showing the movie of terrorism which can break the regional peace and cause the War!”
The Interview stars James Franco and Seth Rogen, who play a tabloid-television show duo invited to interview Kim Jong-un. When the CIA finds out about the interview, they task Rogen and Franco with assassinating North Korea’s Supreme Leader.
North Korean officials, for obvious reasons, are not impressed with the film’s subject matter. As Time reported, North Korean leaders said that.
“The act of making and screening such a movie that portrays an attack on our top leadership… is a most wanton act of terror and act of war, and is absolutely intolerable.”
Although Kim Jong-un swore retaliation for the movie, North Korean officials have insisted multiple times that it did not initiate the Playstation hack or the theft of Sony’s internal data. The hackers that have claimed responsibility for the stolen data – known as the Guardians of Peace – have demanded the movie be destroyed.
The Lizard Squad’s hack on Playstation’s online gaming system, although from a different source, plays into the narrative. When Citizen Kane was blackballed by Hearst, outlets he didn’t own avoided reference to the movie as well, mostly out of fear. The Squad’s Playstation hack shows that other hacking groups are feeling empowered, and this Playstation hack may be a display of newfound courage.
One of the thing’s that brought Citizen Kane so much publicity was the controversy behind it – in fact, the movie initially flopped at the box office. Could the same happen with The Interview? The Franco/Rogen films have done well in the past, but unofficial opposition from the leader of the country that calls itself the greatest nation on the planet may just project their next undertaking into the history books.