Sony hires FireEye's Mandiant following internal security breach

After cyberattack resulted in internal networks being shuttered and confidential files leaked across the web, Sony has pulled in the professionals.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer
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Sony has tapped security firm Mandiant to assist in the clean-up after yet-another damaging cyberattack.

Last week, reports surfaced that the electronics giant was dealing with the aftermath of network intrusion, and as a result, was forced to shut down Sony Pictures Entertainment computer systems.

FireEye's Mandiant forensic team, in conjunction with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is assisting with the aftermath and subsequent investigation the security breach, according to Reuters.

Mandiant is a well-known security incident response arm of FireEye which deals in forensic analysis, repairs and network restoration. The company was also asked to assist in the catastrophic security breach experienced by US retailer Target in 2013.

Three people with knowledge of the matter said technicians are making headway in repairing the damage caused by the cyberattack, and email systems are expected to be back on Monday.

Last week, employees of Sony's entertainment division discovered a message from a group labelling themselves "#GOP" -- which may indicate a group called Guardians of Peace -- threatening to disclose internal data and Sony "secrets" unless particular demands were met.

Evidently, this tactic did not achieve what the hackers wanted, as a few days afterwards files appeared on the Web which allegedly list employee passwords, personal data, passport copies of both actors and crews for film productions, IT audit documents and hundreds of Outlook mailboxes, among others.

In addition to these files, over the weekend, four unreleased movies produced by Sony were leaked online to file-sharing websites. The pirated copies of films available online include "Fury," "Still Alice," "Annie," "Mr. Turner" and "To write love on her arms," all of which are due for official release at various points next year.

As reported by Variety, war epic "Fury" has been downloaded over 1.2 million times since 27 November, according to piracy-tracking firm Excipio.

A Sony spokesperson told the publication:

"The theft of Sony Pictures Entertainment content is a criminal matter, and we are working closely with law enforcement to address it."

The latest cyberattack is just one in a string of those targeted at Sony. In 2011, the company's PSN network was breached, resulting in the theft of the personal data belonging to over 77 million users. Earlier this year, the entertainment giant was the victim of a DDoS attack which disrupted online services.

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