"Wait... so they still haven't figured out this is one big scheme to send Spiderman back home to Marvel?"
For an excellent
run down of the Sony hack story, please see: A Breakdown and Analysis of the December, 2014 Sony Hack
by Risk Based Security.
Sony Corporation (ソニー株式会社 Sonī Kabushiki Gaisha, commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Kōnan Minato, Tokyo, Japan. Its diversified business is primarily focused on the electronics (TV, Gaming Consoles, Refrigerators), game, entertainment and financial services sectors. The company is one of the leading manufacturers of electronic products for the consumer and professional markets. Sony is ranked 105th on the 2014 list of Fortune Global 500.
You may ask, "How is the 2014 Sony Pictures Entertainment hack related to Net Neturality?" and the answer is, it relates to a lot of things, actually. These at least include:
It relates to information security
and should be a reminder that that topic needs to be taken seriously in general. This wasn't the first time Sony has been hacked, one noteworthy incident being the PlayStation Network outage in 2011
, so it also should be a reminder that Sony needs to take its own data security seriously. As a multinational corporation, one would expect that it would have the resources to do so.
It relates to malware
(for example: viruses, trojans, worms, etc.) Sony is the corporation which in 2005-2007 thought it would be a good idea to include rootkits on CDs
sold to customers in the name of preventing piracy. Also, the use of malware
is part of how Sony got hacked.
It relates to global politics.
The United States government
accused the North Korean government as being responsible for the hack. The North Korean government
denied it was involved and offered to conduct a joint investigation with the United States. The United States government asked the Chinese government
to weigh in. The Russian government
weighed in. (But wait, there's more!) All this over a movie studio hack.
Speaking of Russia, U.S. sanctions against the country isn't making the United States very popular over there: Russians Rage Against America | Enduring Sanctions, Anger Turns to Hate: Racist Names for Obama and Putin Disses Coca-Cola
. Russia wants to look into the United States' bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan towards the end of World War II: State Duma chief suggests trying US for WWII nuke attacks
. In regards to Ukraine/Crimea and US/Russia, there's this: Париж, Севастопольский бульвар | В час украинской трагедии потомки белой эмиграции обращаются к лидерам Европы
Coincidentally, after 50 years of embargoing Cuba suddenly the US has changed its mind as to how to relate to the nation - There's this article, Sudden U.S. Thaw Worries Cuban Dissidents
and this one, CNN's Candy Crowley interviews President Barack Obama
(Dec. 21, 2014):
So Cuba offers us an example of an opportunity to try something different. For 50 years, we've tried to see if we can overthrow the regime through isolation. It hasn't worked. If we engage, we have the opportunity to influence the course of events at a time when there's going to be some generational change in that country. And I think we should seize it and I intend to do so.
I guess he might as well just come out and bluntly say that "normalizing relations" is a plot to overthrow the Cuban government, eh?
And this is all occuring in the wake of the United States torture report.
CIA experimented on humans in black sites: Report
and The Senate Just Released the CIA Torture Report. Read the Full Document.
and the .pdf file itself
Relatedly, there's the article CIA Admits to Hacking Senate Computers
(July 31, 2014).
The CIA, which ran the torture program, messing with a congressman/her staffs' computers, which the congressional panel was using to read about and review said program? What could possibly go wrong?
It relates to personal privacy and media gossip.
Weird Al Yankovic has a good parody on the general topic of media gossip: "Weird Al" Yankovic - TMZ (Parody of "You Belong With Me" by Taylor Swift)
(3min 41sec). Sony employees' personal emails were dumped along with whatever else got dumped, which generally is something one wouldn't want to happen with their correspondance, and having it re-published for wider dissemination would of course make it worse. See: I Will Not Post This | The Coming Age of Self Censorship
Coincidentally, the NSA gave everyone a holiday gift this Christmas eve (presumably as a result of an ACLU and MFIA FOIA lawsuit
). See: NSA waited until Christmas Eve to reveal its embarrassing self-audit
and On Christmas Eve, NSA quietly releases 12 years worth of internal reports
. The report itself is posted to the NSA website.
It relates to taking things out of context to mean something different than what was originally intended.
I'm sure it was deliberate on the part of Guardians of Peace, knowing that most journalists would simply repeat any scary-sounding phrases, with few printing the whole message so that people could draw their own conclusions as to what it means, but if you read what was actually written... Source for the full text (at the bottom of the article): Sony Hackers Threaten 9/11 Attack on Movie Theaters That Screen ‘The Interview’
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.
More to come…
Unless there was more to go on than that (I'm sure I've missed some things), by my interpretation the only thing these hackers (if that really did come from the hackers) were threatening theater-goers with is a warning that the movie sucks.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
I think they were saying that the world will denounce Sony because the movie sucks. People will be scared of just how bad it is, watching it is such a disaster that it'll feel like September 11th, 2001 all over again. You don't even want to be -near- the theaters, it's that bad.
I laughed so hard when I read that.
- Also, probably they only brought up 9/11 because people called hacking Sony
to be on the same level as 9/11.
To quote from: Seth Rogen, Howard Stern liken Sony hack to terrorism: ‘This attack is no different than a 9/11-type attack’
This attack is no different than a 9/11-type attack," Stern said. "They stole this material. It probably was North Korea. They want to f--k with Sony. They’re really pissed off. It’s outrageous. The president should have announced immediately we’re under attack.
It relates to 9/11 and what followed after that.
Hey, someone else brought up 9/11, so why not roll with it, eh?
In short, with regards to the events of September 11th, 2001, along with other aspects of it, there's been a fair amount of discussion regarding what actually happened that day and who's to blame. South Park
made their case that it wasn't an inside job and that the government just messed up/wasn't able to stop it from happening.
A while back someone asked, "Who still thinks 9/11 was an inside job?" to which I replied, "Susan Lindauer, apparently." Here's her Wikipedia page
, and here's a video of her discussing what she knows.
(1hr 36min 12sec)
Here's another video, '9/11 was an inside job': Full speech by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at UN
"Whodunit: 9/11" isn't really what I look into, but those links should be enough to get one started if one is interested in the topic.
Regardless of whodunit and why... how it relates is, as is the case with the Sony hack of today, 9/11 was a big event that a lot of people were at least aware of it having happened. It has the potential to be a catalyst for major changes in the world and society. There are calls for a response to this, going as far up as the President. If you think about it, there was definitely a conspiracy involved in pulling it off, so it's a question of how deep does it go, what do we know, what was the motivation, and other sorts of questions, not "if" it was one or not. And so forth.
But what's different this time is...
It was a computer hack. Data got leaked, data was deleted, but nobody blew up.
We may not have thousands or millions of engineers burning thermite and steel beams at home for fun (too expensive, maybe? Maybe dangerous? Well, at least guy was experimenting: 9/11 Experiments: The Great Thermate Debate
) just to see how it works as a normal part of their daily lives who can relay to the average Joe how likely a given scenario is when it comes to how a building might have collapsed, but programmers, sysadmins, and so on? In regards to a computer hack?... I hypothesize that either whoever did (and/or whoever ordered/encouraged/suggested) the Sony conspiracy was very perceptive, knowing to a large extent what the reaction would be, or was an idiot, too unfamiliar with information technology and nerd culture to have any clue as to what would happen in response, and their scheme, whatever it was, backfired. (Or maybe a half dozen of one and six of the other?) Or maybe... they saw The Dark Knight (particularly this scene
) and took it a little too seriously?
There are just so many possibilities to consider! Bruce Schneier considers a few in the article Lessons from the Sony Hack
. (Dec. 29 Update: IT Secuirty firm Norse has their own theory, with evidence they're presenting to the FBI: Ex-Employee, Five Others Fingered in Sony Hack
As far as response
to the hack: Here's a link to the YouTube video with United States President Obama talking about the Sony hack
(8min 43sec). Here is the full press conference
(50min 35sec). Here's a link to both North Korea and Sony's response: North Korea proposes joint Sony hack inquiry with US
. (There's a video at the top of the article, "Sony Pictures CEO: "We have not given in"" where Michael Lynton speaks about it.)
This is funny: Bring It On, Sony Hackers! - Late Night with Seth Meyers"
I have two things to say:
No, Barack Obama, no John McCain
, we don't need your "cyber security" legislation, which by my estimation would be no more about securing our data and cyber infrastructure than the "PATRIOT Act" was about resisting tyranny, upholding the United States Constitution, and baking apple pies. To quote Obama
We have to treat it like we would treat, you know, the incidence of crime, you know, in our countries. When other countries are sponsoring it, we take it very seriously. But, you know, I think this is something that we can manage.
Yes, I take this seriously. And yes, IT can manage. If computer nerds had to rely on government to figure out what to do, the state of the internet would never have progressed this far. See: The coming digital anarchy
Bitcoin is giving banks a run for their money. Now the same technology threatens to eradicate social networks, stock markets, even national governments. Are we heading towards an anarchic future where centralised power of any kind will dissolve?
(Of course, there is more to concern ourselves with than whether our computers and internet connections and software function as intended. See: Beyond Whistleblowing
System administrators like Edward Snowden do indeed wield disproportionate influence over the fate of our species, but sysadmins cannot create a solution by themselves. Centralizing a few computer experts as the subject of social struggle only obscures all the other demographics whose participation is essential in any movement for liberation.
What would it mean for the rest of us to defect from the power structures that we participate in? To identify what is intolerable in our own mundane complicities, and break them off once and for all? This is a step each of us can take, wherever we are situated in the architecture of power.
Unless the "cybersecurity" law you're thinking of says something like, "the government will publically publish a guideline every year of what it feels are best practices that companies and individuals can implement to secure their own or their users/employees/customers data," or otherwise does something useful, I'm not sure what you think a law will accomplish? You can't legislate people to write error-free code any more than you can legislate sculptors to produce works like the Statue of David or painters to create something akin to the Mona Lisa. Creativity and technical skill is something one develops over time and exercises for their own pleasure. It is something which can be taught, it is something which one can learn on their own, but it is not something which someone far away writing on a piece of paper saying that people need to be good at it, can change. When you've got the sort of people who are demanding
to be allowed do their jobs... (See: Leaked Sony IT Evaluations: "There Is No Overall Strategy"
SPE IT employees have ZERO power to make any changes. We have to fight with our own management to convince them there is a problem.
Where does congress come in again?
As far as something that's been proposed before (which seems to have become a yearly event): The first time I heard about CISPA
(1min 16sec), the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, was in 2012. I read about it from the EFF
and the ACLU
and read the bill
, and from what I gathered the point was to make it legal for companies to pass data to certain other companies and the government without regard for existing privacy laws.
How is deliberately handing over the contents of my database to a third party supposed to secure my data? It does the exact opposite of that. I don't need or want laws that tell me I have the right to deliberately fuck over the people who are entrusting me with their information.
Seriously, back down on that crap.
Honestly, I think people reading articles like this: After Sony, Every Startup Should Prepare For War
and passing it on to others to read will do more good than anything congress has in mind. I would be amazed if they could prove me wrong.
"To whom it may concern: Never forget (6
). If you don't know what (?
) means, I suggest you find out."
(For those reading this who already did know what that means - Meh. I find it relevant in its own way, but it would spoil the fun if I explained it. Don't read too much into it.)
As for how the hack relates to Net Neutrality
(First, I think it's best to just put this under the category of "fuckery/preventing fuckery" and think about how it fits in with everything else than worry about whether this fits the definition of a particular term.)
The short version: I like copyright, I like the internet. Even if unenforceable, I would still want copyright, a basic aknowledgment that what's mine is mine and what I make matters. I could go into more detail about that, but I won't here.
But, if forced to make the choice between the internet and copyright: I choose the internet. Sony, apparently, chose copyright.
There's this - The full story of Project Goliath and Hollywood's quest to control the web
. To quote the opening to the set of articles comprising the story:
When a digital attack revealed the private emails of Sony Pictures employees, it also revealed a number of troubling anti-piracy projects that would cut against the basic engineering principles of the web. MPAA documents revealed that Hollywood hasn't given up on SOPA, the controversial anti-piracy that was struck down in Congress in 2011, and is looking into ways it could justify the same proposals under existing law. The industry's biggest adversary in that fight is Google, referred to over and over again under the codename "Goliath."
Other sources for info: Hollywood v. Goliath: Inside the aggressive studio effort to bring Google to heel
and this one - MPAA’s plan to break DNS in the name of fighting piracy – exposed by the Sony hack
Basically the intent of Sony/the MPAA being to revive SOPA/PIPA through non-legislative means, and SOPA/PIPA being something the internet already got pissed off at a few years ago to the point of having an "internet blackout"
to demonstrate what censorship of the web would be like with those bills, is unlikely to have forgotten about. I certainly haven't.
Oh, to throw some irony in there: Sony About to Get Sued For Pirating Music in The Interview
. Maybe they're not such staunch defenders of copyright after all?
But hey, let's not put Sony through the grinder too
much. Let's end this section on a positive note. ;) Official PlayStation Used Game Instructional Video
(22sec). (That, too, I find relevant in its own way. That one I'd welcome you to read too much into it. =D )