The Sony attack is breaking new ground (unfortunately). Part of what the hacker group GOP is doing in creating fear, uncertainty and doubt. They sent out an email to all Sony employees that read, in part (From The Verge):
I am the head of GOP who made you worry.
Removing Sony Pictures on earth is a very tiny work for our group which is a worldwide organization. And what we have done so far is only a small part of our further plan. It’s your false if you if you think this crisis will be over after some time. All hope will leave you and Sony Pictures will collapse. This situation is only due to Sony Pictures. Sony Pictures is responsible for whatever the result is. Sony Pictures clings to what is good to nobody from the beginning. It’s silly to expect in Sony Pictures to take off us. Sony Pictures makes only useless efforts. One beside you can be our member.
Many things beyond imagination will happen at many places of the world. Our agents find themselves act in necessary places. Please sign your name to object the false of the company at the email address below if you don’t want to suffer damage. If you don’t, not only you but your family will be in danger.
Sony is working with the FBI on this, but if I was an employee I would be concerned about what will these hackers do to make Sony employees suffer.
Michael Lynton, the CEO of Sony Pictures sent out an email to employees saying that they are working with the FBI, but given neither Sony nor the FBI were able to stop the attack in the first place nor find the attackers after the attack and also given that the attackers did not give any clue how they were going to make employees suffer, Mr. Lynton’s email does not give me the warm fuzzies that I should feel safe.
This is a whole new level of attack – if you can panic a company’s employees, some will leave and many will be distracted. That kind of situation can put a company in a downward spiral.
Also, there have been reports that Sony executives received threatening emails prior to the attack starting.
Given that for many executives, their assistants read their emails, this situation brings into question how well trained the executive team is to deal with these type of threats. I have no idea what happened at Sony. The response could be anywhere from printing it out and putting on the executive’s reading stack to mashing the big red 911 button and rolling down the steel storm shutters. How a company deals with this situation is up to the company, but there should be a plan in place that everyone – from the executive team to legal to security to whoever else needs to be in the loop – knows about in advance. No different than having a plan for dealing with someone phoning in a bomb threat in the physical world.
For all we know, the initial threat could have come in with a link that someone clicked on that launched the attack. Scary, but possible.
The company also needs to have a plan for how they are going to deal with employee concerns. i don’t know if Sony had a plan (remember, this is somewhat old hat to them what with previous attacks and bomb threats), but what became public (the CEO saying that they are working with the FBI and thanking people for sticking it out) is kind of weak.
The longer this goes on, the more stressful it becomes for employees – which is how the attackers wear down the company.