Sony cans The Interview release as North Korea linked to hack

Reports indicate country ordered cyber attack

Sony Pictures

Update December 17: Sony cancelled the planned Christmas Day theatrical release of The Interview following the decision of the US' biggest movie theaters not to show the film.

Messages from hackers had threatened theaters that played the movie and patrons who went to see it.

An anonymous US official speaking to CNBC said the US "found linkage" between the North Korean government and the massive Sony Pictures Entertainment hack that's had the company, its employees and Hollywood reeling. This has been a widely held theory, despite North Korean denials. A formal statement from the US government regarding North Korea's involvement could come Thursday.

While the hack supposedly originated outside the despotic nation, CNBC's sources said the perpetrators were following orders from within North Korean.

Sony hasn't said if it will release the film at a later date or ever, though it's said to be exploring options such as releasing the movie, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, online.

Original post below...

Sony Pictures Entertainment was recently subjected to an online attack that saw threatening messages sent to its employees. Hackers leaked 11TB of unreleased films shortly after, and now the perpetrators have issued fresh demands.

A message posted on Github claiming to be from the hackers, who go by the name GOP (Guardians of Peace), has warned the studio to pull its upcoming "movie of terrorism", which is believed to refer to Sony's forthcoming comedy The Interview.

Starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as entertainment journalists, the film's plot sees its main characters hatch a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un. It's scheduled to open on December 25, but the studio has been holding screenings since November 18.

Clear demands

The message read: "We have already given our clear demand to the management team of SONY, however, they have refused to accept. It seems that you think everything will be well, if you find out the attacker, while no reacting to our demand. We are sending you our warning again.

"Do carry out our demand if you want to escape us. And, Stop immediately showing the movie of terrorism which can break the regional peace and cause the War! You, SONY & FBI, cannot find us. We are perfect as much. The destiny of SONY is totally up to the wise reaction & measure of SONY."

Various report have pointed to North Korea as the source of the online attacks, though as Ubergizmo notes, the North Korean government has denied involvement while simultaneously giving the hackers its nod of approval.

One of the attacks have been traced back to a hotel in Bangkok, where the attackers were believed to have used the hotel's high-speed internet to launch the attack, an anonymous source told Bloomberg.

Article continues below