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Sony Pictures hack included celebrities’ social security numbers

It keeps getting worse and worse.


Rob Price


Posted on Dec 5, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 1:34 am CDT

Further analysis of the trove of Sony Pictures documents that leaked in an unprecedented corporate hack has revealed the personal details and social security numbers (SSNs) of tens of thousands of employees—as well as numerous celebrities.

Fusion had previously claimed that 3,803 employees’ details had been leaked; a security researcher had suggested it was in excess of 6,800. The Wall Street Journal is now reporting the true figure is far in excess of this—at least 47,000 people’s personal details have been compromised.

The information leaked includes personal addresses, SSNs, and salaries, according to data-security firm Identity Finder LLC. 

Notably, victims of the leak aren’t just rank-and-file Sony workers. It also extends to numerous Hollywood celebrities, including actors Sylvester Stallone and Rebel Wilson and director Judd Apatow. At this stage, it seems likely that many more have also been affected.

The details of the hack and subsequent leak—already being called “one of the largest corporate hacks in history”—are currently scarce. It was carried out by an anonymous group that calls itself “Guardians of Peace,” or #GOP, and it did so much damage to Sony’s computer systems that the company was forced to revert to pen and paper to work.

Some are alleging that North Korea is behind the attack—in retaliation for upcoming Seth Rogen film The Interview—but the secretive authoritarian regime is denying it.

The hack has exposed numerous failings in Sony’s security procedures, including storing highly sensitive passwords in plaintext in a directory named “Passwords.” Former employees have subsequently come forward to label the company’s information-security team a “complete joke.”

H/T WSJ | Photo via Torkild Retvedt/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Dec 5, 2014, 9:09 am CST