Sony has two options for Christmas: a large sack of coal and "more interesting" data to be released online, or to send emails asking hackers to keep stolen data off the Web.
The media giant experienced a security breach this month which has left even its high-profile hack of the PlayStation Network in 2011 pale in comparison. The hack, of which group Guardians of Peace (GOP) have taken responsibility, saw pre-release Sony films leaked online, internal network compromisation, and more recently a plethora of confidential corporate documents sent across the Web for the titillation of the general public, media and more than likely business rivals.
From employee and actor Social Security numbers to passport copies, audit accounts and personal emails sent between Sony board members, the data just keeps flowing -- and more might be on the way.
In a new message from GOP released on Pastebin and Friendpaste -- in stuttering English -- the group says it is "preparing for you a Christmas gift" which will be "larger quantities of data, and it will be more interesting."
"The gift will surely give you much more pleasure and put Sony Pictures into the worst state," the message reads. "The sooner SPE accept our demands, the better, of course. The further time goes by, the worse state SPE will be put into and we will have Sony go bankrupt in the end."
While the potential threat of even more data being released is likely to give suffering Sony executives a fresh headache, Sony Pictures Entertainment staffers may have the opportunity to stop their personal data being included in a new data dump. In a message to SPE, the Guardians of Peace said:
"We have a plan to release emails and privacy of the Sony Pictures employees. If you don't want your privacy to be released, tell us your name and business title to take off your data."
It is believed that the cybercrime may be linked to the upcoming film 'The Interview,' which GOP has labelled a "terrorist film." The subject matter of the film surrounds two journalists who are enlisted by the CIA to assassinate the leader of North Korea.
In an attempt at damage control, Sony sent a strongly-worded letter to a number of media publications in the past few days, demanding that data which has been downloaded by outlets to be ignored and destroyed. As reported by the New York Times, lawyer David Boies, hired by Sony, says that the studio "does not consent to your possession, review, copying, dissemination, publication, uploading, downloading or making any use" of the information.