Sony Pictures CEO Interviewed By AP

Michael Lynton, Sony Pictures CEO, gave the AP the most extensive interview since the  attack.

Among other things, Lynton said that the hackers “They came in the house, stole everything, then burned down the house.”  He said “They destroyed servers, computers, wiped them clean of all the data and took all the data.”

More importantly, he said that six weeks later, the studio’s network is still down and is expected to remain so for a few weeks.

A few other things he said:

  • Sony did not have a playbook for this.  He said that maybe nobody could.
  • A team of 10-15 senior management people were tasked with keeping Sony’s 7,000 employees informed without having them panic.
  • Sony had an emergency notification system but not all employees were on the system, so they had to sign people up in the middle of the crisis.
  • They met with 400 to 500 Sony employees at a time on a sound stage on the property to talk to employees about identity theft and security tips.
  • The story kept making twists and turns, so responding was difficult.  They would have a plan in the morning and it would change by the evening.
  • When the theatre chains pulled out from screening The Interview, they were scrambling because they did not have a plan.  They said they had no plans to release it, which was correct, because they had no plan.
  • The movie has generated $31 million so far, which still makes it under water, but they have canabalized most of the future revenue by doing PPV on Christmas.
  • He declined to give a cost estimate for the breach – likely because they don’t really know yet – but that will be in their SEC filings eventually.
  • He still maintains that “we were adequately prepared  … nobody could have withstood an attack of this nature.”

Looking back, I would say – and they would likely say privately – that they were not adequately prepared.  They did some things right and many things wrong.

USA Today is reporting that 19,000 French web sites have been attacked or defaced since the Charlie Hebdo attack, and the number is growing.  The article quotes one security expert who calls this the new normal.

I don’t know if that is true, but if it is, planning is one thing companies need to spend some effort on.