Hacker Attack on Sony Includes Threats to Employees

Computer Password
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Last week’s attack on the Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) now appears to be more serious than the theft of unreleased movies. Employees of the company received threatening emails on Friday that claimed to be sent by the hacker group GOP that conducted the attack.

According to sources, the original attack included the theft of 25 GB of sensitive information on the company’s employees, including Social Security numbers, medical information and salary data. The emails that employees received on Friday have not been released, but the FBI has confirmed that some employees of Sony Pictures Entertainment received the threats.

Reuters reported on Friday that a U.S. national security source claimed that North Korea is a “principal suspect” in the attack, a charge that the North Koreans have denied.

Another attack was reported this week by women’s retailer Bebe Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: BEBE). Thieves stole cash register data, which was then used to create new cards that were sold and used to purchase high-ticket items and gift cards.

The latest report from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), which does not include either the Sony or Bebe attacks, reveals that there has been a record total of 708 data breaches recorded through December 2, 2014, and more than 81.5 million records have been exposed. The previous annual record high was set at 662 in 2010, and this year’s total to date is about 26% higher year-over-year.

The total number of data breaches increased by 12 in the week, and the medical/health care sector continues to post the largest percentage of the total breaches, 42.5% (301) out of the total of 708. The number of records exposed in these breaches totaled 7.92 million.

On the basis of the number of records exposed, the business sector accounts for 64.7 million breached records in 231 incidents.

The number of banking/credit/financial breaches remained flat at 41 for the year-to-date, and involved 1.18 million records, some 5.8% of the total and 1.5% of the number of records exposed.

Since 2005 there have been 4,954 data breaches tabulated involving more than 673.6 million exposed records.

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