Sony hires Mandiant to help clean up after cyber attack

Sun Nov 30, 2014 6:24pm EST
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BOSTON/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sony Pictures Entertainment has hired FireEye Inc's Mandiant forensics unit to clean up a massive cyber attack that knocked out the studio's computer network nearly a week ago, three people with knowledge of the matter said on Sunday.

    Computer systems at the Sony Corp unit went down last Monday after displaying a red skull and the phrase "Hacked By #GOP," which reportedly stands for Guardians of Peace, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Technicians are making headway in repairing damage caused by the attack and expect to have the email systems back online Monday, said one of the people, who were not authorized to publicly discuss efforts to deal with the attack.

Sony executives have declined to comment on the scope of the attack, though emails have been bouncing back with messages asking senders to call employees because the system was "experiencing a disruption."

A representative with FireEye declined comment.

Mandiant is an incident response firm that helps victims of breaches identify the extent of attacks, clean up networks and restore systems.

The technology news website Re/code reported on Friday that Sony was investigating to determine whether hackers working on behalf of North Korea might be responsible for the attack, possibly in retribution for the studio's backing of the film "The Interview," which is to be released on Dec. 25 in the United States and Canada.

The movie is a comedy about a CIA attempt to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The Pyongyang government denounced the film as "undisguised sponsoring of terrorism, as well as an act of war" in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

(Reporting by Jim Finkle and Ron Grover; Editing by Eric Walsh)

An entrance gate to Sony Pictures Entertainment at the Sony Pictures lot is pictured in Culver City, California April 14, 2013. REUTERS/Fred Prouser