Sony Pictures hacked, data held for ransom

Hacker group called #GOP accesses the studio's internal data and threatens to make it public, according to multiple reports.

A hacker group called #GOP has threanted to reveal Sony Pictures' "secrets." CNET

Sony Pictures was hit by a hack that forced employees to shut down their computers Monday and stay off the film studio's network, according to reports.

Sony Pictures, the film and TV arm of Japanese tech and media conglomerate Sony, was hacked at some point in the last two days by a group calling itself #GOP, reported The Hollywood Reporter, citing people within the studio. The hackers claimed to have obtained Sony Pictures' internal data, including its "secrets," and said they would release the data to the public if their demands were not met, according to reports. It is unclear what the hacker group is demanding.

Sony has kept quiet on the incident, saying only that it is investigating an "IT matter." Sony did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.

Sony Pictures employees were told Monday to shut down computers and not access corporate networks or email, as well as disable Wi-Fi on all mobile devices, reported Variety. It is unclear if Sony Pictures, which has produced films such as "The Amazing Spider-Man" and TV shows including "Shark Tank," was the target or if the hackers were attempting to go after Sony Corp. Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Music Entertainment and other parts of Sony Corp. were not affected by the hack, reported the Los Angeles Times.

This hack could be the latest in a string of embarrassing security breaches for Sony. Last week, hacker group DerpTrolling released thousands of what it claimed were user logins from PlayStation Network, 2K Games and Windows Live -- though some reports have suggested the leak may have been faked.

In August, Sony's PlayStation Network was taken down by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, a common hacker technique that overwhelms a system with traffic and makes regular service temporarily unavailable. The gaming network was also the target of a more severe hack in 2011, which led to the exposure of the personal data of more than 100 million customers signed up for PlayStation Network, Qriocity, and Sony Online. Sony took the networks -- for downloading and playing games, movies, and music -- offline for about a month before bringing them back up.

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