Sony Pictures hack takes yet another weird twist
The Sony Pictures Entertainment hack has taken yet another weird twist with hackers apparently offering to withhold data stolen from the company's employees.
On Sunday the group claiming responsibility for the crippling Nov. 24 hack offered not to release some email correspondence from Sony Pictures' employees. The group urged employees to contact them if they don't want their correspondence released.
There was no way to determine how many, if any employees, had supplied their details.
The post, which claimed to be from the shadowy Guardians of Peace, or GOP, group, appeared on file sharing sites Pastebin and Friendpaste, according to the website Recode.
'Message to SPE Staffers,' it read. 'We have a plan to release emails and privacy of the Sony Pictures employees. If you don't want your privacy to be released, tell us your name and business title to take off your data.'
Sunday's message also contained links to several file sharing sites for obtaining the group's latest leaks. Clearly keen to maintain the pressure on Sony, the group vowed to release 'larger quantities of data,' which it described as 'a Christmas gift,' reiterating a similar GOP message posted on Saturday.
Experts have noted the resolve of the attack's perpetrators, who seem intent on prolonging Sony's pain.
'Whoever it is, they must feel like they are immune to retaliation,' Jim Lewis, director and senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told FoxNews.com, in an email. 'They are also really motivated to keep it up this long - most of these incidents are more like smash-and-grab.'
Sunday's post is the latest in a flurry of cyber assaults aimed at Sony Pictures, which have included leaks of confidential data and unreleased movies, as well as threats against Sony employees. The producers of James Bond films have also acknowledged that an early version of the screenplay for the new movie 'Spectre' was among the material stolen in the massive Sony Pictures cyberattack.
'Sony is receiving repeated body blows from the breach, which is perhaps indicative of the intention to damage the reputation of the company,' wrote Chris Boyd, malware intelligence analyst at Malwarebytes Labs, in an email to FoxNews.com. 'Typically a big company breach is all about stealthy data theft and low profile operations, however in this case the motivation appears focused on creating crippling headlines - it could almost be the beginning of a Bond film itself.'
The finger of suspicion has already been pointed at North Korea over the hack, although Sony Pictures recently denied a report that it was poised to blame Pyongyang for the attack. The studio's forthcoming film 'The Interview,' starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as journalists enlisted to assassinate dictator Kim Jong-un, has outraged North Korea.
There has also been plenty of speculation that the cyberattack was an inside job.
With the shockwaves from the hack still reverberating, Sony Pictures has reportedly demanded that at least three media outlets stop reporting stories based on documents obtained by hackers.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies' Lewis told FoxNews.com that the attack has also shone a spotlight on hackers' use of file sharing sites such as Pastebin.
While Saturday and Sunday's GOP posts have been removed from Pastebin, a GOP message titled 'Gift of Sony for the 8th day: GOP at Christmas (2),' which apparently corresponds to Sunday's Pastebin message, is still available on Friendpaste.
A spokesman for Pastebin told FoxNews.com that it received two requests about the posts related to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA). 'We always comply with such request when the items in question contain sensitive data,' he added, in an email to FoxNews.com.
Friendpaste was unavailable for comment.
Sony Pictures Entertainment has not yet responded to a request for comment on this story from FoxNews.com. A spokeswoman for the FBI, which is investigating the hack, told FoxNews.com that its probe is ongoing.
FIVERRDIRECTORY.BLOGSPOT.COM contributed to this report.
Follow James Rogers on Twitter @ jamesjrogers