Guardians of Peace. That’s right, Guardians of Peace or GOP as they like to call themselves, is the name of the group behind the hacking of the world’s most popular technology company– Sony Corporation. It seems ironic, doesn’t it? World’s only superpower fighting an isolated nation in the North East Asia for a Japanese Co.
The dots are not that scattered to match though. Sony, one of the biggest technology conglomerates, with presence in electronics and entertainment to production houses and media, became a victim of cyber warfare, which undoubtedly has the potential to become the most sophisticated modern war weapon. And Uncle Sam, like always, cannot just cannot stop from taking up the cause of entities troubled by the enemies they perceive as their own.
Why did North Korea Attack and How –
That’s interesting. Heard of ‘The Interview’? This James Franco, Seth Rogen starrer is a satirical and comical take on the country and its leader’s antics. The crux however is an assassination attempt on the country’s present leader Kim Jung-un. North Korea complained against the movie in the UN, made strong statements condemning the very thought of creating this movie, but the big daddy which Sony considers itself, it went ahead. This attempt to portray the act with a pinch of salt was not taken in good taste by the North Korean regime. The result, they got furious enough to wreak havoc on Sony Pictures’ offices in the US. Not only did they copy terabytes of private data, but also left messages threatening to make them public and to leak four unreleased movies on file-sharing websites (including Brad Pitts’ Fury).
Note: North Korea has denied all allegations and is not willing to take responsibility for the attacks. Though, they have come out in full support of the ‘hactivists’, stating Sony got what it deserved (This is the closest one can expect them to claiming official responsibility). The initial findings of the CIA also show that the malware along with the servers mirror coding originating from the North East Asian nation.
The message, with an illuminating skull, appearing on the screen of a Sony employee. Ghastly.
The Timeline of events
- 22 November: Sony computer systems hacked, dumping embarrassing emails and personal details about stars on public platforms
- 7 December: North Korea’s Central News Agency denying the allegations but praising the attacks as ‘righteous’
- 16 December: 9/11-type attack on cinemas showing film; New York premiere cancelled
- 17 December: Leading US cinema groups say they will not screen film; Sony cancels Christmas-day release
- 19 December: FBI concludes North Korea orchestrated hack; President Obama calls Sony cancellation “a mistake”
- 25 December: With US President supporting Sony and clearly directing them not to give into GOP’s intimidation, Sony Pictures releases the movie on limited screens in the US and makes it available on VoD too
Background of North Korea-
Long reeling under the Kim dynasty, The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is not a normal nation-state and it is no longer expected to behave like one. With an erratic heads of state the country engages in practises which make for some good humour. Consider a few below –
- It’s not 2014 in North Korea. The year is 103 counted after the birth of Kim Il-sung (Founder of DPRK)
- North Korea has 51 “Social Categories” ranked by their loyalty to the regime.
- North Koreans may only choose from 28 approved haircuts (So as to not hurt sensibilities, and avoid “so called fashionable western cuts”)
- In North Korea, only military and government officials can own motor vehicles.
- North Korea’s space agency is called “NADA”, which in Spanish means “nothing.”
- And yes the elections take place every 5 years. But wait, the ballots contain just one option- that of the supreme leader, and thus garnering 100% of the ‘votes’.
North Koreans bowing to statues of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-Il in Pyongyang
North Korea remains an International Nuisance. Unusual is not a term unfamiliar with the nation. Since admitting in 2002 of developing Uranium based nuclear program and breaking the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003, the troubled nation has gone ahead and tested world patience for long. Test firing missiles and flaunting the limited strength on its neighbours, North Korea must acknowledge this cannot go on for long. Creating underground nuclear facilities, violating the six party talks, and backing out of its commitments are going to do no good too.
These tweets show the extent the online community went to show their disapproval to take down the movie –
Coming from the King, you can bet he’s right.
He wouldn’t have enjoyed that much!
But there’s no stopping this guy
All said, a movie mocking North Korea and its ways might well be exciting and an opportunity for raking in tons of money, but it should have been given a go ahead by a Company capable enough to handle the consequences. ‘You get what you sow’ aptly sums up Sony’s conflict.
This was not the first movie making fun of a world leader – the likes of Hot Shots! Part Deux Inglorious Bastards, and The Dictator have proven there’s an audience for satire on the subject.
It is just that the parties need to take it in good spirits.
And if you have five more minutes, listen to the man below, he tears it apart