Sony Pictures suspends filming after massive hack 'affects payments'

Sony Pictures suspends filming after massive hack 'affects payments'
Sony Pictures has temporarily stopped filming after hackers, with alleged links to North Korea, paralyzed its computer network. The security glitches have reportedly meant the studio has been unable to process payments.

This is the latest problem that has rocked the Hollywood studio after an attack by the hacking group, Guardians of Peace. Due to the technical problems with their computer network, the majority of which are offline, Sony Pictures have been unable to pay agencies that are filming for the company, a report in The Times newspaper stated.

The attackers, who are believed to have links to Pyongyang, have used very sophisticated methods. Joseph Demarest, the assistant director of the FBI’s cyber-division, told a US Senate hearing that the methods used by Guardians of Peace would have managed to hack into nine out of ten company’s computer systems.

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Security experts have estimated that the cost to fix the breach will be in the region of $100 million.

Sony Pictures has not commented on the issue and cancelled a press conference scheduled for Friday to promote the movie ‘The Wedding Ringer,’ which stars Kevin Hart. The actor was called a ‘whore’ by a Sony executive in emails leaked by the hacking group.

Security was also tight at the premiere of ‘The Interview’, the film believed to have been the reason behind the hack. The movie caused outrage in North Korea, due to the plot involving the CIA planning to kill the secretive nation’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un.

Actor James Franco attends the premiere Of Columbia Pictures' "The Interview" at The Theatre at Ace Hotel Downtown LA on December 11, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (AFP Photo/Frazer Harrison)

READ MORE: N. Korea praises Sony mass hack as ‘righteous deed’ – but denies involvement

North Korea has denied any responsibility, but did praise the mass cyber-attack against the film studio, calling it a "righteous deed.”

"The hacking into SONY Pictures might be a righteous deed of the supporters and sympathizers with the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) in response to its appeal," a spokesman for the National Defence Commission (NDC) told the country’s KCNA news agency.

The attack began on November 24 when a red skeleton-like image appeared on staff computers alongside a warning that data would be released to the web unless its — unspecified — demands were met.

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The company’s problems then started, as four movies were prematurely leaked onto the internet, while sensitive company documents, such as emails and documents listing the salaries of staff members were also released.