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Sony Pictures is still dealing with the aftermath of its data breach originally suffered seven weeks ago, and it has been a major headache. However, the incident will be covered by SPE's insurance, and likely won't require the company to endure additional cost-cutting measures, according to SPE CEO Michael Lynton.
"I would say the cost is far less than anything anybody is imaging and certainly shouldn't be anything that is disruptive to our budget," Lynton recently told Reuters.
The financial cost related to post-breach cleanup may be covered, but Sony Pictures must now work on its public relations image. Employee morale is reportedly high, and payroll has been managed, but leaked email conversations between SPE executives embarrassed the company. It will take time and effort, but Lynton acknowledge rebuilding trust with company employees and Hollywood partners already is being worked on.
Sony Pictures managed to release "The Interview" to the Internet on Christmas Eve and in theaters on Christmas, but it continues to be a bumpy road for the movie studio. The Guardians of Peace hacker group compromised SPE servers, took all the data, and then "wiped them clean" so Sony no longer had backups.
The initial breach took place shortly before Thanksgiving, and the movie studio's networks are still down - and likely won't be back online for a few more weeks, at the earliest.
"We are the canary in the coal mine, that's for sure," said Michael Lynton, Sony Pictures CEO, in an interview with the Associated Press. "There's no playbook for this, so you are in essence trying to look at the situation as it unfolds and make decisions without being able to refer to a lot of experiences you've had in the past or other peoples' experiences. You're on completely new ground."
Companies struggle to keep their networks secure, and are becoming frustrated by cyberattacks and data breaches. Despite some interest in launching retaliatory attacks, there are a number of hurdles that make it difficult, legal issues aside - not only would it be ineffective because it could escalate the matter further, but there are concerns victims would launch cyberattacks against the wrong targets.
The topic came back to life after JPMorgan Chase may have recruited hackers to launch attacks in retaliation for a cyberattack. Cybersecurity experts and the US government don't recommend companies seek revenge, as US infrastructure has the most to lose - and it'll likely end poorly for the victim either way.
"The technical sector is the backbone of the American economy, and if we start engaging in these kind of behaviors, in these kind of attacks, we're setting a standard, we're creating a new international norm of behavior that says this is what nations do," said former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, in a an interview that PBS Nova will publish soon.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden answered questions for a video interview with NOVA, from June 2014, discussing cyber warfare programs on the national level.
The Regin malware, likely created by the American NSA or British GCHQ, is an example of how clever governments have become in their effort to spy on one another. Unfortunately, there is growing concern that these types of cyberattacks could have real militaristic consequences, though countries tend to deny any and all attributions of their crimes.
"Now, this is something that people don't understand fully about cyberattacks, which is that the majority of them are disruptive, but not necessarily destructive," Snowden said. "One of the key differentiators with our level of sophistication and nation-level actors is they're increasing pursuing the capability to launch destructive cyberattacks, as opposed to the disruptive kinds that you normally see online, through protestors, through activists, denial of service attacks, and so on. And this is a pivot that is going to be very difficult for us to navigate."
Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai complemented employees and partners for their support and patience following a late 2014 cyberattack. Hirai is optimistic that Hollywood actors and companies will continue to choose to work with the company in 2015 and later down the road - despite how damning some of the information leaked was, likely hurting SPE's reputation.
"We are still reviewing the effects of the cyber attack," Hirai told reporters during CES. "However, I do not see it as something that will cause a material upheaval on Sony Pictures business operations."
Meanwhile, the company is still analyzing full effects of the attack and data breach, which revealed former and current employee personal information, leaked emails, unreleased films, and other company-related information.
CES 2015 - Smart and connected technologies accessing the Internet of Things (IoT) have generated significant interest during CES 2015. Manufacturers mainly promoted the benefits of their connected devices, though cybersecurity experts and government regulators want consumers to be aware of potential risks.
Security and privacy concerns could become major headaches for consumers, manufacturers, and security experts embracing connected devices. Collection of personal data with - and often times without - consumer consent, how that information is used, and the theft of data currently are the biggest security concerns.
"Any device that is connected to the Internet is at risk of being hijacked," said Edith Ramirez, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) chairwoman, in a statement made during CES. "Moreover, the risks that unauthorized access create intensify as we adopt more and more devices linked to our physical safety, such as our cars, medical care and homes."
If you've ever heard someone guarantee 100 percent security to you in cyberspace then you know you've got yourself a liar - and not a very good one. Of course, cyberspace will never be truly secure according to Martin Giles. This is why cyber security is becoming increasingly complex and as threats do as well. Huge compromises to data occur in rare events, but the biggest day-to-day threats come in the form of crooks attempting to steal financial data from businesses and individuals.
The hackers best at what they do are certainly making life more difficult for cyber security professionals. Simply put, however, the most common breaches of security are often the result of the most obvious mistakes. For example, an employee can physically write down a password on paper only to have it fall into the wrong hands, or customer information is available to those that have no business with such confidential information. Because of this, it appears that some businesses are not able to anticipate incoming cyber attacks.
In fact, there are reports that argue there is a great need to actually provide businesses with incentives to take cyber security more seriously than they already are. Here are some simple tips for prevention:
Manage your Internet connection appropriately
By managing your Internet connection, both businesses and customers are better off throughout the payment processing activity online. Internet providers have been prompted by corporations to better manage Internet connections by taking more responsibility in helping their clients identify and fix any potential cyber security problems that they may be experiencing. Example, infectious malware is a common issue that could be cleared up by the Internet service provider fairly easily.
A former employee with Morgan Stanley was canned after being accused of stealing and looking to sell personal information of 350,000 of the firm's clients.
Wealth Management clients are now being informed that the employee took partial client data - and there is no evidence of economic loss - but client information of up to 900 clients, including account names and numbers, were posted on the Internet.
"Morgan Stanley takes extremely seriously its responsibility to safeguard client data, and is working with the appropriate authorities to conduct and conclude a thorough investigation of this incident," the company said in a public statement.
CES 2015 - The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is supposed to be all about announcing and launching new, innovative products, but it wasn't all fun for Sony. Kazuo Hirai, president and CEO of Sony, spoke out against the cyberattack that hit Sony Pictures, while applauding employees for their resolve.
The Guardians of Peace made it a rough end of the year for Sony Pictures, crippling the company, leaking embarassing emails, stealing data, and terrorizing former and current employees - and it remains a rather trying time for employees.
Both Sony, former employees and current employees were the victim of one of the most vicious and malicious cyberattacks in recent history," Hirai said. "I have to say that I'm very proud of all the employees, and certainly the partners who stood up against the extortionist efforts of criminals, and worked tirelessly, sometimes for days on end to bring you 'The Interview,'"
The bitcoin exchange BitStamp has suspended operation following a significant data breach in which 19,000 bitcoins - valued at more than $5 million - were stolen from the company. BitStamp has frozen user accounts, blocked deposits and suspended all trades as an investigation and security audit are reportedly underway.
The company has a public disclaimer informing customers of the breach on its website: "Upon learning of the breach, we immediately notified all customers that they should no longer make deposits to previously issued bitcoin deposit addresses," part of the message reads. "To repeat, customers should NOT make any deposits to previously issued bitcoin deposit addresses."
Bitcoins endured a turbulent growth period in 2014, with more consumers and businesses expanding adoption - but the currency remained volatile, and overall value has dipped. These type of incidents could be catastrophic for future growth of bitcoins, at a time when consumers already are skeptical of long-term potential.