The Sony Hack's Banal Reality: Paper Memos, BlackBerries, and Takeaways

By Ashley Feinberg on at

It's been a little over two months since the Sony hack first rocked the world of the tens of thousands of employees who had their passwords and social security numbers (among other sensitive bits of info) exposed. But despite what some of the more imaginative among us might hope, it turns out that the reality of one of the most high-profile hacks in history isn't all that glamorous at all.

According to a new article in Vanity Fair that looks at some of the details of the Sony Hack's aftermath, the days immediately following the hack looked almost like a post-internet apocalypse with "messages pinned up all over saying the hack had happened". As Vanity Fair writes:

Suddenly it was a pre-Digital Age at Sony. Whoever hacked the company had not only stolen its internal data; they had wiped out everything in their wake. Sony's e-mail system was down and out, so employees were forced to communicate by paper memos, texts, phone calls from their personal cell phones, and temporary e-mail addresses. The studio's executives were reduced to using BlackBerrys unearthed from the basement of the Thalberg building.

We already knew that Sony Pictures Entertainment employees were being very carefully handled in terms of what they were being told. But now, it's easy to see why so many of them were spooked, when you think about what it was they were seeing as they walked into work. According to Vanity Fair:

Within 24 hours, nearly a dozen of Mandia's best investigators arrived on the Sony lot from their offices across the country. "You'd love to think it's guys getting out of black cars with shades on in their black suits," Mandia says. "But it's guys getting out of their own cars with their laptop bags and a bunch of special cables and specialized software."

As far as Sony's current (hopefully overhauled) safety precautions, the article is sparse on details. Although it does give us some insight into recently ex-Co-Chairman Amy Pascal's new habits: "Today, Amy Pascal's e-mails are shorter and safer. For security reasons, she's using four separate handheld devices, with various names and passwords." Because I guess four potential ways to hijack your accounts are better than one?

You can check out the full story of the Sony Hack aftermath over at Vanity Fair here. [Vanity Fair]

Image credit: Valerie Macon, Getty Images