Sony's First Comment on Hacks: An 'Unprecedented, Unparalleled Crime'

By Jamie Condliffe on at

Sony Pictures hack debacle continues to unfold, Sony has now made its first substantive comments about the whole ordeal — at least internally, that is. The company has referred to what's happened as an "unparalleled crime" which is a "unprecedented in nature".

The internal memo, sent to staff by Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton, was seen by Re/code. The note is based on comments by Kevin Mandia, the head of security firm Mandiant which is working with Sony to investigate the incident. It offers no insight into who may have performed the attack. Here's the full memo:

Over the last week, some of you have asked about the strength of our information security systems and how this attack could have happened. There is much we cannot say about our security protocols for obvious reasons, but we wanted to share with you a note we received today from Kevin Mandia, the founder of the expert cybersecurity firm that is investigating the cyber-attack on us. The investigation is ongoing, but Mr. Mandia's note is helpful in understanding the nature of what we are dealing with. Full text below.

We also want to thank you once again for your resilience and resourcefulness in carrying out our critical day-to-day activities under incredibly stressful circumstances. As a result of your efforts, we have made great progress moving our business forward, and we will continue to do so.

— — —

Dear Michael,

As our team continues to aid Sony Pictures' response to the recent cyber-attack against your employees and operations, I wanted to take a moment to provide you with some initial thoughts on the situation.

This attack is unprecedented in nature. The malware was undetectable by industry standard antivirus software and was damaging and unique enough to cause the FBI to release a flash alert to warn other organizations of this critical threat.

In fact, the scope of this attack differs from any we have responded to in the past, as its purpose was to both destroy property and release confidential information to the public. The bottom line is that this was an unparalleled and well planned crime, carried out by an organized group, for which neither SPE nor other companies could have been fully prepared.

We are aggressively responding to this incident and we will continue to coordinate closely with your staff as new facts emerge from our investigation.

Sincerely,

Kevin Mandia

While it seems the source of the data leaks has been traced to a five-star hotel in Bangkok, it remains unclear who the perpetrators are. [Re/code]