The Cyber Civil War

Suppose that someone hacked into your email account, stole the content of your emails, and posted them online. All of your email correspondence is now searchable in every search engine. Whomever you mentioned in any of your emails can easily find those emails by a quick search of his or her name. Most of us are terrified by such a scenario. We might not only lose and alienate our family, friends, and colleagues, but there could also be various other economic, social, and legal implications resulting from such information disclosure. This scenario has recently become non-fictional. On November 24, 2014, a group of hackers identified as the “Guardians of Peace” launched a cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment (“Sony”), obtaining and releasing personally identifiable information of the company’s employees and their dependents—emails between employees, information about executive salaries, copies of unreleased Sony films, and other information—commonly referred to as “the Sony Hack”. The motivation behind the Sony Hack was linked to a new, pre-released Sony movie entitled “The Interview,” which satirically presented North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un. Many U.S. government authorities attributed the Sony Hack to North Korea, but it is still unclear whether it was a geopolitical act of retaliation.

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