Sony Pictures Crippled by Threatening Computer Hack

The hacker group identified as #GOP purportedly took over computers and hijacked Twitter accounts, sending out ominous messages

Sony Pictures employees were greeted with an ominous image on their computer screens when they tried to log in for the work week on Monday, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap. A sinister graphic of a skeleton with the words “Hacked by #GOP” on it appeared on dozens of screens.

A screenshot of the image, leaked to Business 2 Community, included the following message: “We already warned you, and this is just a beginning. We continue till our request be met. We’ve obtained all your internal data including your secrets and top secrets. If you don’t obey us, we’ll release the data shown below to the world.”

Sony only said in a statement, “We are investigation an IT matter.”

Sony Pictures computer hacked by #GOP

The hacker group identified as #GOP, or Guardians of Peace, also allegedly took over several of the company’s Twitter accounts, sending out similar ominous messages regarding Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman and CEO Michael Lynton.

For example, the “Starship Troopers” movie Twitter handle purportedly sent out the message, since deleted, “You, the criminals including Michael Lynton will surely go to hell. Nobody can help you.” Similar messages were attributed to Twitter accounts for “Stomp the Yard” and “Soul Surfer” as well. None of these posts are currently up.

Sony's Starship Trooper Twitter account hacked by #GOP

Sony has purportedly regained control of those accounts, but were not as successful as the day progressed in regaining control of their main computer systems.

The graphic on employees’ computer screens included several URLs which directed to a ZIP file the group claims contains a number of sensitive Sony documents. According to a post on Reddit claiming details of the ZIP file, it includes a list of emails, as well as internal financial reports in the forms of PDF, DOC and XLS files.

#GOP is threatening to release these files if their demands are not met, though it is unclear what those demands might be. Sony was given a deadline of Nov. 24 at 11 p.m. GMT (6 pm. ET).