Thousands of documents and emails snaffled during an attack against Sony Pictures last year have been published on WikiLeaks, according to the BBC.
The treasure trove of data – 30,287 documents and 173,132 emails – have been made available online before, but the manner in which they were uploaded and presented made searching them a laborious task.
Now, however, WikiLeaks has presented all the data, along with 2,200 Sony Pictures email addresses, in a “fully searchable” format via a “Google-style search engine”.
While the administrators behind WikiLeaks have not taken the time to unearth anything of great interest from among the mass of data at their disposal, others have.
Independent security researcher Graham Cluley, for instance, has discovered that Sony Pictures, and its staff, were rather lax when it came to password security.
While we’re certain that ExpressVPN customers are clued up about such things, Sony employees have demonstrated an alarming disregard for server security by using passwords such as the timeless classic of… “password,” as well as other old favourites including days of the week and setting a password that was identical to the username.
In a further demonstration of Sony incompetence, Cluley also republished one document he found on WikiLeaks which clearly shows a large list of logins and associated passwords.
As you may imagine, Sony is not best pleased that its private data has once again found its way onto the internet, especially in a format that is so easily to search.
The company issued a statement saying it “strongly condemns” the move by WikiLeaks and that the information should not exist in the public domain.
Julian Assange, the founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, disagrees. Speaking from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he has been holed up since 19 June 2012, he said the files offer a rare glimpse into the inner workings of what he described as a “large, secretive multinational corporation”.
Assange continued, saying that the Sony Archives were “newsworthy and at the centre of a geo-political conflict”. He asserted that the information belonged in the public domain and that WikiLeaks would endeavour to ensure that it stayed there.
As for the geo-political conflict referenced by WikiLeaks, we can only assume that was a reference to North Korea, the country assumed by many to be ultimately behind the attack.
In case you don’t remember, Sony Pictures was hacked in November, just prior to the release of “The Interview,” a comedy film about two reporters recruited to kill North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un.
While a link with the nation was never proven, and much debate remains over who exactly was involved, we do know that North Korean officials called the hack a “righteous deed”.
We also know that a hacking group named Guardians of Peace claimed responsibility for the attack and later threatened 9/11 style attacks against any cinema that dared to screen “The Interview,” a move that prompted Sony to cancel the movie’s theatrical release.
Having expressed concerns over employee and cinema-goers’ safety, the company later changed its mind following public pressure and the film enjoyed a limited release before quickly appearing on iTunes, Blu-Ray and DVD.
Responding to WikiLeaks’ publication of a searchable archive, Sony said it had concerns over the “safety, security and privacy” of its company and 6,000 plus employees while Chris Dodd, chairman of the MPAA, said the not-for-profit media organisation was not performing a public service but was instead “further violating the privacy of every person involved”.