Recent Cyber Hack Into Sony Pictures’ Data System Shows Weaknesses in U.S. Business Computer Security

A James Bond-esque parody titled The Interview had already gained a controversial reputation from its very beginning, portraying a modern-day scenario where two American journalists (played by popular comedians Seth Rogen and James Franco) score an interview with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, and quickly end up being impromptu secret agents for the U.S. during their trip.

Anyone familiar with the authoritarian dictatorship of the Kim family, which has ruled over North Korea for three generations now, probably wasn’t surprised that the North Korean government issued multiple condemnations of the movie (which essentially made a mockery of the Supreme Leader).

But things took an even darker turn when Sony Pictures Entertainment, the company producing The Interview, was affected by such a severe cyber-attack that it decided to cancel the movie’s release altogether.

Unlike the recent (and numerous) security breaches that affected American chain businesses like Target and Jimmy John’s — as well as the millions of customers who had their personal information stolen in the breaches — the latest hacking into Sony’s system didn’t involve a widespread theft of consumer information. But if investigators are correct in their accusations that the North Korean government itself is behind the security breach, it means that cyber hacking is no longer just a domestic issue, and that the anti-viral programs used by major corporations may not be as bulletproof as expected.

As Mae Anderson, a technology writer for the Associated Press, explains, this security breach is causing businesses across the country — regardless of their size, or their location, or what products/services they sell — to take a hard look at their current security practices. If North Korean hackers can get access into the computer systems of a major corporation in Hollywood (i.e., the land of “movie secrets worth millions,” as Anderson puts it), there’s no reason to think that smaller businesses are impervious to domestic threats of highly-trained computer experts.

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