Sony Surrender Monkeys of Cyberwar

Sony Pictures Entertainment announced Wednesday that it will pull the planned Dec. 25 theatrical release of “The Interview,” an action-comedy that stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as madcap would-be assassins of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Sony will lose about $100 million to pull the movie. There was $42 million in production costs and more money for advertising.

There has been speculation that Sony has insurance which could be used to recover costs in the event of a total loss.

However, a lasting problem for Sony will be that many movie stars, directors and others in Hollywood will not trust Sony and the executives who were involved in this decision in future deals and projects. Everyone in Hollywood knows who the major people are.

The Telegraph UK has information from the leaked emails.

There is information the new Ghostbusters film will be reboot.

Business Week covered the Iranian hack of the Sands Casino in Las Vegas. This was supposedly in retaliation for Adelson saying that the United States should drop nuclear bombs in Iran.

The hacking cost $40 million in damage.

Adelson has a net worth of about $27 billion. Adelson is the 22nd-wealthiest person in the world, thanks mostly to his 52 percent stake in Las Vegas Sands. He has built the most lucrative gaming empire on earth by launching casinos in Singapore and China whose profits now dwarf those coming from Las Vegas. An owner of three news outlets in Israel and a friend of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Adelson also spends large sums of money to support conservative politicians in the U.S.; he may be best known for contributing some $100 million in a failed attempt to unseat President Obama and elect Republicans to Congress in the 2012 election.

As early as 2008, military planners were at work on a series of briefing papers about deterrence in cyberspace, examining whether the same principles that kept the Cold War cold could be applied to the coming generation of digital conflict. The answer, they concluded, was no. It’s a lot easier to tell who fired a nuclear weapon than a digital one, which is simple to acquire and hard to trace. States often outsource hacking to proxies, including groups that behave a lot like the ones that officially took credit for both Sands (the “Anti WMD Team”) and Sony (the “Guardians of Peace”).

A growing number of experts, including former national security officials who’ve seen the problem from the inside, say the next escalation may be companies doing what the U.S. government won’t. If states can hire hackers to do damage, why can’t their victims defend themselves using the same techniques? The topic, discussed often at panels and conferences, is among the options U.S. officials have considered—and rejected—as a response to growing cyberthreats against companies. Hayden, the former NSA director, calls it the digital equivalent of the “stand your ground” laws that allow citizens of some states to defend themselves with lethal force. To critics, it’s a path to a digital Wild West.

NBF – Adelson seems likely to spends tens of millions to launch efforts to go on the offensive against his Iranian hackers. Adelson also has the political influence to get support from Republican controlled administrations and from Israel. Sony has a tougher problem with North Korea (if it was North Korea) because they do not have as many financial or technical targets.