Sony Pictures warns employees to be on the lookout for fraud

The company has acknowledged that personal information of both current and former employees has been stolen and could be used by criminals.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Seth Rogen (left) and James Franco star in "The Interview," which has been caught up in the massive hack of Sony Pictures. Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Sony Pictures, which has seen everything from personal e-mails to celebrities' aliases leaked to the public in a massive data breach, has warned employees that fraudsters could be targeting them.

In a memo to staff sent earlier this month and reported Tuesday by Reuters, the movie studio said that some of the stolen information includes current and former employee Social Security numbers, bank account information and credit card details. It is possible, Sony said in the memo, that criminals will use the information.

The fact that employee information was stolen is no surprise, given the breadth of data that the hackers, self-dubbed as "Guardians of Peace," have boasted of stealing from the company. Over the last couple of weeks, hackers have released tomes of information stolen from Sony servers, including DVD-quality versions of unreleased movies, actor salaries, and executive e-mails criticizing a variety of people. The hacking group promises that end is not near and says it has a "Christmas present" for the company.

Sony Pictures has remained relatively tight-lipped about the hack as it works to unravel how it happened and the extent of data that was actually stolen. Still, the breach has proven extremely damaging to a company that experienced a similarly major hack on its gaming network, PlayStation Network, just a few years ago.

At the center of the controversy is actor and filmmaker Seth Rogen's film "The Interview," a comedy that follows two men with a plot to assassinate North Korea leader Kim Jong-un. Some reports have suggested that North Korea could have been behind the hack on Sony Pictures, but that is only speculation. The hackers did demand that Sony pull the plug on the film, which is set for a December 25 release. So far, Sony hasn't responded to the demand.

While Sony evaluates the extent of the data breach, the company said in its memo to employees that they should be on the lookout for any suspicious activity. The company has also said it will provide identity-protection services.

Sony Pictures did not immediately respond to a request for comment.