Sony Exec Steps Down After BreachAnnouncement Follows Studio's Breach Cost Disclosure
In the aftermath of the Sony Pictures Entertainment cyber-attack in late November 2014, Amy Pascal is stepping down as co-chairman of the film studio.
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The news comes after Pascal had her e-mails leaked to file-sharing and BitTorrent sites during the breach. Among the compromised details was a conversation with producer Scott Rudin in which they exchanged racially charged comments about President Obama (see: Sony Hackers Threaten Movie Theaters).
On Feb. 3, Sony released its financial results for the final quarter of 2014, which reported that by Dec. 31, 2014, an estimated $15 million was spent on investigating and remediating the hack attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment. But Sony noted that owing to the "serious disruption of its network and IT infrastructure as a result of the cyber-attack," it remains unable to close its movie and television studio's books for 2014, and that the cost spent to date on breach cleanup remains an estimate.
On Nov. 24, 2014, Sony Pictures was hit with a devastating wiper malware attack by hackers calling themselves the Guardians of Peace. The White House eventually blamed North Korea for the Sony Pictures hack, and the FBI has released some evidence to back up that assertion (see: FBI's Sony Attribution: Doubts Continue).
A recent report from Taia Global claims that Russian hackers, using spear-phishing attacks, successfully breached the network of Sony Pictures in November 2014 and continue to have on-demand access to Sony's network (see: Report Claims Russians Hacked Sony). But it's not clear if those hackers unleashed the malware attack and data leaks for which the Guardians of Peace has taken credit, or if the Russian team was operating independently.
In a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, one of the first media outlets to report on the executive shakeup, Sony says Pascal will transition to a new venture where she will produce films including the new "Ghostbusters" movie as well as future "Amazing Spider Man" films. As part of a four-year agreement, Sony Pictures Entertainment will finance Pascal's venture and retain all distribution rights worldwide to the films, the publication reports.
Sony Pictures did not immediately respond to a request for comment.