The Slatest

Did North Korea Hack Sony as Payback for Upcoming Kim Jong-un Assassination Comedy?

North Korea strikes back?

Photo by Robert Marquardt/Getty Images

Sony Pictures’ computer systems went down last week after the studio was hacked; a handful of yet-to-be-released films were also leaked online. The studio believes the hack and the leak are connected, and investigators appear to have a hunch about the source of the cybermischief: North Korea. “Hackers who knocked Sony Pictures Entertainment’s computer systems offline last week used tools very similar to those used last year to attack South Korean television stations and ATMs,” people briefed on the investigation told the Wall Street Journal. South Korea blamed the 2013 attack on their northern neighbors.

The recent attack began last Monday when the company’s computers began displaying “Hacked By #GOP.” GOP reportedly stands for Guardians of Peace. But why would North Korean–backed hackers go after an American movie studio? Here’s another speculative hunch from the Journal:

Sony Pictures is set to release this month “The Interview,” a comedy in which U.S. spies enlist a television host played by James Franco and his producer, played by Seth Rogen, to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. In June, a spokesman for the Pyongyang government said distribution of the movie would be “the most undisguised terrorism and a war action” and threatened a “strong and merciless countermeasure” if the U.S. government “patronizes the film.”

“The World War II drama Fury with Brad Pitt’s was downloaded 500,000 times since the Nov. 25 attack on the Sony’s Corp.’s film-and-TV studio, the news site TorrentFreak said,” according to Bloomberg. “When asked if it was involved in the attack, a spokesman for the North Korean government replied: ‘Wait and see,’ ” the BBC reports.