2 min read

Leaked emails reveal that hackers demanded money from Sony Pictures before attack

Graham CLULEY

December 09, 2014

Ad One product to protect all your devices, without slowing them down.
Free 90-day trial
Leaked emails reveal that hackers demanded money from Sony Pictures before attack

At 9:44am PST on November 21st, just three days before Sony Pictures’ network was brought down in dramatic fashion by hackers with locked screens and grisly displays of skulls, the company’s top executives received an unsolicited email.

sony-extort-email

Subject: Notice to Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.

Message body:

We’ve got great damage by Sony Pictures.

The compensation for it, monetary compensation we want.

Pay the damage, or Sony Pictures will be bombarded as a whole.

You know us very well. We never wait long.

You’d better behave wisely.

From God’sApstls

Details of the attackers’ prior warning to Sony have come to light after thousands of email messages were leaked online, from the mailboxes of hacked executives Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures Television, and Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal.

Perhaps predictably, interested observers have been sifting through the stolen communications and leaked files to see what titbits they can find.

And, aside from scripts, box office projections, social security numbers and even Brad Pitt’s phone number, the hackers’ apparent warning to Sony Pictures has been unearthed.

The email, which claimed to come from a Gmail address belonging to someone called “Frank David”, was sent to five of Sony Pictures’ top executives, including CEO Michael Lynton.

What the poorly-worded email doesn’t reveal, of course, is precisely how much money the extortionists wanted Sony Pictures to cough up.

Furthermore, the email contains no apparent reference to the upcoming Seth Rogan comedy “The Interview: which some commentators (but not me) have speculated might have resulted in North Korea backing an operation to hack the Hollywood studio.

So just who might God’sApstls (God’s Apostles?) be?

No-one is sure. But they did warrant a mention in a message embedded within the malware that struck Sony’s hacked computer systems just days later:

“We`ve already warned you, and this is just a beginning.

We continue till our request be met.

We`ve obtained all your internal data including your secrets and top secrets.

If you don`t obey us, we`ll release data shown below to the world.

Determine what will you do till November the 24th, 11:00 PM(GMT).

Post an email address and the following sentence on your twitter and facebook, and we`ll contact the email address.

Thanks a lot to God`sApstls [sic] contributing your great effort to peace of the world.

And even if you just try to seek out who we are, all of your data will be released at once.”

Whether “God’sApstls” are related to Guardians of Peace (aka GOP) who previously claimed responsibility for the attack on Sony Pictures remains unclear.

Hopefully the apparent extortion email from the hackers will be one of the avenues that police will be pursuing in their attempt to determine who is responsible for what is turning into one of the most embarrassing corporate hacks of recent times.

tags


Author



Right now

Top posts

The Holiday Guide to Tech Support: Fixing the Family Computer

The Holiday Guide to Tech Support: Fixing the Family Computer

November 24, 2021

2 min read
Bitdefender Celebrates 20 Years of Cybersecurity Leadership

Bitdefender Celebrates 20 Years of Cybersecurity Leadership

November 04, 2021

3 min read
Bitdefender Study Reveals How Consumers Like (and Dislike) Managing Passwords

Bitdefender Study Reveals How Consumers Like (and Dislike) Managing Passwords

October 26, 2021

3 min read
What are drive-by download attacks and how do you prevent them?

What are drive-by download attacks and how do you prevent them?

October 25, 2021

2 min read
Criminals Can't Wait to Add Your IoT Device to Their DDoS Networks

Criminals Can't Wait to Add Your IoT Device to Their DDoS Networks

October 22, 2021

2 min read
Six in 10 Consumers Faced a Cyber Threat in 2021, New Bitdefender Study Reveals

Six in 10 Consumers Faced a Cyber Threat in 2021, New Bitdefender Study Reveals

October 20, 2021

3 min read

FOLLOW US ON

SOCIAL MEDIA


You might also like

Common Credentials Criminals Use in IoT Dictionary Attacks Revealed Common Credentials Criminals Use in IoT Dictionary Attacks Revealed
Silviu STAHIE

November 30, 2021

3 min read
Interpol Busts 1,000 Cyber Crooks and Recovers $27M in Massive Fraud Crackdown Interpol Busts 1,000 Cyber Crooks and Recovers $27M in Massive Fraud Crackdown
Filip TRUȚĂ

November 29, 2021

2 min read
Social media firms will be forced to unmask online trolls, says Australia Social media firms will be forced to unmask online trolls, says Australia
Graham CLULEY

November 29, 2021

2 min read