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Arts and Entertainment

North Korea Might've Hacked Sony Because Of James Franco

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Sony Pictures is recovering from a massive hack from last week that leaked five movies, including Fury and the forthcoming Annie, and one of the theories floating out there over a motive for the attack is that North Korea is not very happy with James Franco.

Who can blame them, really?

The hack dates back to November 24 when employees of the Culver City-based studio logged onto their computers and were greeted by a screen that announced the breach. The hackers, calling themselves "Guardians of Peace" (or "#GOP") leaked DVD screeners of the films Fury, Annie, Still Alice, Mr. Turner (which, if you recall, was the film at AFI FEST where an audience member was maced), and To Write Love On Her Arms over the holiday weekend. The leak became an even bigger headache for Sony Pictures on Tuesday when the personal information, including Social Security numbers of 3,803 employees found their way on the Internet, Variety reports.

The attack was so crippling that Sony Pictures' email and other essential systems were shut down for most of the week, but were reportedly slowly coming back online. As Sony Pictures investigates the attack, a motive remains unclear though there is one wild theory that is gaining traction among the media: North Korea was behind the attack.

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Sources close to the situation told tech news site re/code that the studio is looking into the possibility that North Korea launched the cyber attack as retaliation for the forthcoming Franco and Seth Rogen movie The Interview. In the film, whose billboards and bus ads you cannot avoid now, Franco and Rogen play celebrity journalists who are tasked by the CIA to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

Unsurprisingly, the government of the isolated country was not amused by the existence of a new Franco movie (neither are we, to be honest), and a spokesman called it "an act of war." When asked recently about any link between North Korea and the Sony hack, a spokesman for the country had this cryptically menacing reply: "The hostile forces are relating everything to the DPRK (North Korea). I kindly advise you to just wait and see."

On Monday, the FBI announced they were investigating the hack. "The FBI will continue to identify, pursue and defeat individuals and groups who pose a threat in cyberspace," the agency said in a statement. The Verge reportedly reached out to one of the hackers that identified themselves as a member of #GOP, saying only that the group was fighting for "equality," and that the CEO of Sony Entertainment was a "criminal." The hackers also suggested that the hack was partly an inside job.

The Interview was not leaked in the hack.