South Korea activist to launch 100,000 copies of ‘The Interview’ into North Korea

A South Korean activist said Thursday he plans to launch a series of balloons across the border into North Korea carrying copies of a film which has enraged its leadership.

Former defector Park Sang-Hak said the balloons would carry a total of 100,000 copies on DVDs and USB memory sticks of “The Interview”, a comedy about a fictional plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

The giant balloons, which are used by private groups in the South to float anti-regime material across the heavily guarded border, will also carry bundles of leaflets.

“Probably the first launch will be made in late January if weather conditions allow,” Park said, adding the exact date would be decided when his partners from the US-based non-profit Human Rights Foundation visit Seoul around January 20.

He said the foundation had financed the production of the DVDs and USB memory sticks.

‘The Interview’ Rakes in $15M in Downloads

Seth Rogen and James Franco’s R-rated comedy The Interview has generated $15 million in online sales since being made available Dec. 24, according to the figure released Sunday afternoon by Sony.

The movie has been rented or purchased over 2 million times, already making it the studio’s biggest online film of all time.

Online consumers had access to The Interview via YouTube, Google Play and Xbox one day before hitting select theaters on Christmas Day. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the majority of the film’s online sales came from Google Play and YouTube.

In regards to its theatrical run, the controversial film grossed an estimated $2.8 million from 331 independent cinemas over the four-day weekend.

Originally, The Interview was supposed to open nationwide on Dec. 25. But those plans were scrubbed by Sony when the group reportedly behind the unprecedented hacking of the studio threatened to wage a physical attack on theaters showing the film, which stars Rogen and Franco as two journalists asked by the CIA to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (the FBI has linked the hackers to North Korea).

Sony PlayStation Network Finally Out Of The Woods? Services Returning

It’s hard to pronounce the patient healed just yet, but Sony’s PlayStation Network this morning finally appears to moving past several days of heavy cyber assaults that left it mostly unaccessible to gamers – apparently distributed denial-of-service attacks that made it impossible for legitimate.

Sony is posting this on its main customer-service Twitter feed: “The PSN is gradually coming back online. Please try to sign in again. Any problems please let us know.”

Catherine Jensen, the VP Consumer Experience for Sony PlayStation unit SCEA, also updated saying the site is up.

Rival Microsoft’s Xbox Live network, which also was attacked by the same group but less consistently or successfully, also appears to be running, according to its status page and DownDirector.com

North Korea denies hacking Sony

North Korea said on Saturday U.S. accusations that it was involved in a cyberattack on Sony Pictures were “groundless slander,” and that it wanted a joint investigation into the incident with the United States.

An unnamed spokesman of North Korea’s foreign ministry said there would be serious consequences if Washington refused to agree to the probe and continued to accuse Pyongyang, according to the North Korean U.N. mission and its official KCNA news agency.

The United States stands by its assertion that North Korea was to blame, a White House National Security Council (NSC) spokesman said on Saturday, in response to the remarks.

On Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama blamed North Korea for the devastating cyberattack, which had led to the Hollywood studio cancelling the imminent release of “The Interview,” a comedy on the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

An angry Obama warns North Korea over Sony movie hack

US President Barack Obama on Friday warned North Korea it would face retaliation for a crippling cyber attack on Sony Pictures over an irreverent film comedy that infuriated Pyongyang.

Obama said the movie giant had “made a mistake” in canceling the Christmas Day release of “The Interview,” a madcap romp about a CIA plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

Sony defended its decision, made after anonymous hackers invoked the 9/11 attacks in threatening cinemas screening the film, prompting theater chains to say they would not risk showing it.

An envoy for Pyongyang denied the secretive state was behind the hacking, which led to the release of a trove of embarrassing emails, scripts and other internal communications, including information about salaries and employee health records.

Addressing reporters after the FBI said Pyongyang was to blame, Obama said Washington would never bow to “some dictator.”

“We can confirm that North Korea engaged in this attack,” Obama said.

“We will respond. We will respond proportionately and we’ll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose.

 

Cyber attack could cost Sony studio as much as $100 million

Sony Corp’s movie studio could face tens of millions of dollars in costs from the massive computer hack that hobbled its operations and exposed sensitive data, according to cybersecurity experts who have studied past breaches.

The tab will be less than the $171 million Sony estimated for the breach of its Playstation Network in 2011 because it does not appear to involve customer data, the experts said.

Major costs for the attack by unidentified hackers include the investigation into what happened, computer repair or replacement, and steps to prevent a future attack. Lost productivity while operations were disrupted will add to the price tag.

The attack, believed to be the worst of its type on a company on U.S. soil, also hits Sony’s reputation for a perceived failure to safeguard information, said Jim Lewis, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“Usually, people get over it, but it does have a short-term effect,” said Lewis, who estimated costs for Sony could stretch to $100 million.