In an apparent victory for hackers, Sony Pictures canceled the release of “The Interview,” a comedy on the fictional assassination of North Korea’s leader. The movie had been set to debut on Dec. 25, on thousands of screens.
According to a U.S. government source, Washington may soon officially announce that the North Korean government was behind the attack. North Korea has denied it was responsible, but security experts in Washington said it was an open secret Pyongyang was involved.
Sony came under immediate criticism for their decision to pull the movie.
“With the Sony collapse, America has lost its first cyberwar. This is a very, very dangerous precedent,” said former Republican House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich in a Twitter post.
However, Sony’s shares closed 4.8 percent higher in Tokyo on Thursday, outperforming the 2.3 percent gain on the Nikkei benchmark index, as investors said there was hope the movie’s cancellation would help bring an end to the crisis.
The White House National Security Council said the United States was investigating the Sony breach and would provide an update about who did it at the appropriate time. “The U.S. government is working tirelessly to bring the perpetrators of this attack to justice, and we are considering a range of options in weighing a potential response,” NSC spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said, adding that the government was not involved with Sony’s decision to pull the film.
Sony said it was “deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company.”