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North Korean Government Thought To Be Behind Sony Pictures Hack

James Franco, left, as Dave, and Seth Rogen as Aaron, in a scene from Columbia Pictures' <em>The Interview</em>. The movie imagines a plot to kill Kim Jong-un, and has angered the North Korean government. It's believed to have led to a cyberattack on Sony Pictures.

A recent hack of Sony Pictures resulted in a leak of at least five of the company's movies and the disabling of its corporate networks and email. The attack began last Monday, when screens at Sony displayed the words "Hacked By #GOP," as well as images of a skull. (#GOP reportedly stands for Guardians of Peace.) According to NBC News, an accompanying message "threatened to release 'secrets and top secrets' of the company."

The Los Angeles Times' Ryan Faughnder told NPR's Melissa Block that the hack caused major disruption at Sony last week. "They were going pretty old school," Faughnder said. "[Employees] were going on Facebook saying people would have to be calling them on traditional land lines. They'd have to use pens and paper. They'd booted up their fax machines. People were even using chalkboards, reportedly, to do business."

Faughnder says the hackers told Sony they have personal data on actors attached to Sony films and Sony financial data that they will leak as well.

Film leaks were another result of the hack. The Sony films Annie, Mr. Turner, Still Alice, To Write Love on Her Arms and Fury were released to file-sharing websites last week. Only Fury, a war film starring Brad Pitt, is currently in theaters, yet according to the consulting group Excipio, it's been downloaded the most.

Variety speculates on the reason behind the hacks and film leaks:

"Since the attack, some observers have speculated that the SPE network takedown was somehow related to "The Interview," the studio's geopolitical spoof starring James Franco and Seth Rogen (pictured above). In the film, slated for Dec. 25 release, Franco is host of latenight talkshow "Skylark Tonight" and Rogen plays his best friend and producer. When the duo secure an interview with Kim Jong-un, the mysterious and ruthless North Korean dictator, they are approached by the CIA and asked to assassinate the Korean leader."

The Telegraph reports that a spokesperson for Kim Jong-Un says the movie shows the "desperation" of American society.

The LA Times' Faughnder says Sony has recruited an IT forensics firm to investigate the security breach, and the FBI has launched an investigation into the matter as well. Today, Voice of America reported that North Korean officials said "wait and see" when asked if the country was involved in the hack.

Meanwhile, Seth Rogen, one of the directors and stars of The Interview, has continued to tweet about the movie. Last week, he shared a new trailer, with the words, "North Korea couldn't stop us!!! Here's the newest trailer for The Interview!!!"

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