Sony hackers turn to terror tactics, threaten cinemas

The latest message from hackers was accompanied with a fresh data dump

The hackers who attacked Sony Pictures have apparently moved on to a new tactic: attempting to spread fear among the general public.

In a message on Tuesday, the hackers allude to attacks on movie theaters showing "The Interview."

Due to open Dec. 25, the movie is a comedy about celebrity TV interviewers sent to North Korea on a secret mission to kill leader Kim Jong Un. It has some speculating that North Korean hackers were behind the attack on Sony.

"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," the message said.

Whoever wrote the email doesn't appear to know that the premiere of the movie already happened, last week in Los Angeles, without incident.

"The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001," it said. "We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you'd better leave.)"

The threat, whether credible or not, grabbed the attention of some media outlets.

Variety screamed "Sony Hackers Threaten 9/11 Attack on Movie Theaters That Screen 'The Interview'," The Daily Beast said, "Sony Hackers Issue 9/11 Warning" and The Verge turned the threat toward moviegoers rather than theaters and reported, "Sony hackers threaten terror attacks against people who see The Interview in theaters."

The message was reportedly accompanied by what appears to be a new leak of documents, this time related to Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Entertainment.

Hackers had previously promised they would release a "Christmas gift" and said the latest documents were the first part of that data dump.

It's been almost three weeks since Sony Pictures was attacked and gigabytes of emails, corporate secrets and other documents were stolen from the company.

The FBI is investigating the case but so far has made no statement on the probe. The latest threats will add urgency to the hunt for those responsible and likely lead to additional charges to anyone who is eventually caught.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Criminalsecuritydata breachlegalSony Picturescybercrime

More about FBIIDGNewsSony

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Martyn Williams

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts