Sony Pictures and F.B.I. widen hack inquiry

Sony Pictures and F.B.I. widen hack inquiry

Sony Pictures Entertainment and the F.B.I. on Wednesday were seeking more information about an attack that crippled Sony’s computer systems — including whether North Korea, or perhaps a former employee, was responsible.

“The investigation continues into this very sophisticated cyberattack,” the studio said in a statement. It added that a news report by the technology site Re/code, which said that North Korea had been identified as the source of the attack and that the studio planned an imminent announcement, was “not accurate.”

Sony was hit by hackers on Nov. 24, resulting in a companywide computer shutdown and the leak of corporate information, including the multimillion-dollar pre-bonus salaries of executives and the Social Security numbers of rank-and-file employees. A group calling itself the Guardians of Peace has taken credit for the attacks.

The studio, working with various law enforcement agencies, has been exploring whether the breach was related to one of Sony’s coming movies, “The Interview,” a comedy about two American tabloid TV journalists recruited to assassinate the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. North Korean officials have been sharply critical of the film.

On Monday evening, the F.B.I. issued a confidential five-page flash warning to security administrators at American corporations about a recently discovered form of destructive malware. The F.B.I. did not name Sony in the warning, which was obtained by The New York Times, but said that the malware was written in Korean and was “destructive” in nature. It commands a computer to sleep for two hours, after which the computer is shut down, rebooted and directed to start wiping all of its files, the agency said.

Meanwhile, a second American company, Deloitte, the consulting and auditing firm, was victimized on Wednesday after the hackers that hit Sony published confidential Deloitte data on Pastebin, an anonymous posting website. The data included salary information for more than 30,000 of its employees.

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