Sony Pictures Considered Purchasing BitTorrent Inc

Sony Pictures seriously considered the acquisition of BitTorrent Inc. according to leaked presentation slides procured from TorrentFreak. The documentation shows Sony Pictures added BitTorrent Inc. to a shortlist alongside Netflix, TiVo, Vongo and Starz to help diversify their business. This strategy was outlined in 2006 and set aside $2-4 billion to acquire the business and offer video content through streaming technology. The idea was to integrate streaming capabilities into set-top boxes and Televisions. Sony also received information about BitTorrent’s plans to create a video store, but this never came to fruition.

Eventually, Sony dismissed the investment opportunity and purchased Grouper and a 25% stake in Starz Media. While BitTorrent can be used for legal activities such as downloading Linux distributions, it’s widely adopted as a means to acquire copyrighted material. On another note, Sony must be kicking themselves for missing out on the potential of Netflix which is arguably the future of video content. However, Netflix was still in its infancy at the time and didn’t provide any major streaming services.

The course of events is quite intriguing and emphasizes how different modern media could be if decisions were changed a few years ago. Whatever the case, it seems BitTorrent usage is still rife, and Sony could only dream of matching the popularity of Netflix.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

Entire Contents of Sony Hack Now Available On Wikileaks

The contents of last year’s infamous Sony Pictures hack have been published on Wikileaks in their entirety, with the whistleblowing website setting up a searchable archive of over 30,000 documents and 170,000 internal company e-mails.

The hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment was launched on 24th November, 2014 by an activist group calling itself “Guardians of Peace” in protest at the imminent release of Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy The Interview, which centred around an assassination attempt on North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un by two journalists. The US government maintains that the attack was perpetrated by the North Korean government, despite flimsy evidence.

In the aftermath, Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal lost her job after the release of e-mails in which she mocked films with black casts, and Kevin Hart specifically, though her e-mail partner, Scott Rudin, escaped with just an apology, despite also being found to call Angelina Jolie a “minimally talented spoiled brat” in an internal memo.

The Guardians of Peace threatened to attack any US cinema that screened The Interview, scaring Sony into pulling the film from its slated Christmas release, though a U-turn followed, with a limited release over the festive period, proving the GoP threats to be empty. Now that the dust has settled, the GoP has fallen silent, and Sony execs have been embarrassed, Wikileaks feels it appropriate to make this information public domain.

Though the political value of the documents appears negligible, Julian Assange, founder and editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, claims that a number of internal e-mails demonstrate collusion between Hollywood and the US government.

Assange said, “This archive shows the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation. It is newsworthy and at the centre of a geopolitical conflict. It belongs in the public domain. WikiLeaks will ensure it stays there.”

Thank you The Guardian for providing us with this information.

FBI Thought Joke Was a Threat Against CNN

During the aftermath of the Sony Pictures hack, while perpetrators Guardians of Peace (GOP) were threatening terror attacks against anyone screening or viewing comedy movie The Interview, the FBI released a statement saying that threats had also been made against a US media outlet. The threat in question was part of a Pastebin post, claiming to be from GOP, demanding, “You have 24 hours to give us the Wolf”, referring to CNN news anchor Wolf Blitzer. It has now been revealed that the post was a hoax by web security expert David Garrett, Jr..

https://twitter.com/DavidGarrettJr/status/550351431623254016

https://twitter.com/DavidGarrettJr/status/550351600641142784

Garrett Jr. admitted to the post, and that it was just a hoax, the moment it was revealed that the FBI were investigating it, but still had to speak to FBI officials on New Year’s Day.

https://twitter.com/DavidGarrettJr/status/550662252194713602

Garrett Jr. told Fusion in an interview that “[The FBI] said basically that, in the future, it’s a good idea not to pretend to be someone they’re investigating.”

Source: Gizmodo

Sony Hackers Mock the FBI

Guardians of Peace, the group responsible for the massive Sony Pictures hack, have taken to making fun of the FBI. The hackers posted a mocking message aimed at the US justice agency on Pastebin on Saturday.

“The result of investigation by FBI is so excellent that you might have seen what we were doing with your own eyes. We congratulate you success,” wrote Guardians of Peace. “FBI is the BEST in the world.” They added, “You will find the gift for FBI at the following address,” followed by a YouTube link. The link led to a two-minute video containing the phrase “You’re an idiot” repeated over and over.

GOP’s taunting of the FBI is believed to be motivated by claims that North Korea was behind the Sony attack, with the hackers implying that they are not affiliated with the country. Many agree that the accusations, given the available evidence, are baseless.

Security expert Marc W. Rogers is one of many doubters, explaining, “[It’s] pretty weak in my books to claim that the newest piece of malware is the act of a nation state because other possible related pieces of malware were ‘rumored’ to be the work of a nation state. Until someone comes up with solid evidence actually attributing one of these pieces of malware to North Korea I consider this evidence to be, at best, speculation.”

Source: BGR

Obama Says the Sony Hack Wasn’t An “Act of War”

President Obama is once again talking about the hack on Sony Pictures, where he has said that the cyberattack on the Japanese electronics giant was not an “act of war” but it was a serious case of “cybervandalism.”

Obama was talking with CNN when he said that, adding that there aren’t any clues as to what his administration’s “proportional response” to North Korea might be just yet.

Source: Engadget.

Sony Pulls ‘The Interview’ From Cinemas After Hacker Threats

The Interview, the film that supposedly motivated the massive hack of Sony Pictures, has been pulled from its Christmas Day release after terrorist threats by the hackers.

At the end of November, a hacker collective known as Guardians of Peace compromised Sony’s servers, stealing over 100 terabytes-worth of data, including internal documents, personal e-mails, and a number of video files of as-yet-unreleased films, many of which have leaked online.

Two days ago, Guardians of Peace threatened to take action against any cinema that screened The Interview, a comedy about the attempted assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. By yesterday, AMC Theaters, Carmike Cinemas, Cinemark, and Regal Entertainment all announced that they would not be screening the film for safety reasons. This motivated Sony Pictures to pull the film entirely from cinematic distribution.

Sony’s statement said: “We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.”

Sony has not indicated if or when release of The Interview will be rescheduled.

Source: New York Times

Sony Hackers “Christmas Gift” Will be an Information Dump

It looks like Sony is headed into the perfect storm of holidays, with the hackers that have been all up in their internal systems promising a “Christmas gift” in the form of an information dump.

Re/code is reporting that the latest information dump, posted on PasteBin, reads “The gift will be larger quantities of data. And it will be more interesting. The gift will surely give you much more pleasure and put Sony Pictures into the worst state.” So, it appears that the hackers aren’t backing down, with a pretty big threat like that. The other issue is, no one knows who these hackers are exactly, as they are only known as “GoP” or Guardians of Peace.

Source: AJC.com.