Sony Hackers Threaten 9/11 Attack on Theaters That Show ‘The Interview’

New threat invokes World Trade Center attack on movie theaters showing the comedy

Sony hackers have threatened a Sept. 11–like attack on theaters that show “The Interview,” the latest and most frightening threat since the Sony hack attack has been underway.

The message included with the release of a new set of hacked emails warned theatergoers in broken English to “recommend you to keep yourself distant”:

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.

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.

Sony executives have not responded to questions about whether they would consider pulling the release of “The Interview,” a comedy that depicts the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and scheduled for release in thousands of U.S. theaters on Christmas Day. The comedy stars Seth Rogen and James Franco and is meant to be a light satire, but is one of the only films in memory that depicts the assassination of a living, sovereign leader.

Experts have told TheWrap that Sony is most likely considering that possibility, and the latest threat is likely to accelerate that consideration.

The threat includes a warning about the premiere. One premiere already took place on Dec. 11, but another premiere in New York is scheduled for Thursday.

Tuesday’s note was the most explicit threat from the hackers yet. An email on Dec. 5 purportedly from behind the attack to Sony employees warned that “your family will be in danger,” and on Saturday the hackers threatened to deliver a “Christmas gift” if “The Interview” is released as planned.

Pulling the film would create another set of problems. It would be knuckling under to corporate terrorists, there is no guarantee that doing so would end the hacking and data dumps. Several security experts said it would likely embolden other cybercriminals.

“The real issue is that you never know what the reaction is going to be if you do,” said Adam Levin, chairman and founder of cybersecurity firm IDT911 told TheWrap.  He also noted that there is a chance that the communications may be coming from groups who aren’t the hackers.
Sony attorney David Boies disclosed in a letter to media that “The Interview” was the motivation behind the hack. “In an on-going campaign explicitly seeking to prevent SPE from distributing a motion picture, the perpetrators of the theft have threatened SPE and its staff and are using the dissemination of both private and company information for the stated purpose of materially harming SPE unless SPE submits and withdraws the motion picture from distribution,” Boies said in a letter addressed to TheWrap.

Matt Donnelly, Todd Cunningham and Linda Ge contributed to this report.