The iCloud hack that released of images of nude celebrities may have been an embarrassing violation of privacy, but the recent cyberattack launched against Sony and the tens of thousands of Social Security numbers it has released opens high-profile individuals and staffers alike to devastating attacks on their persons.
After wrapping up a probe into the attack launched against Sony Pictures, security solutions provider Identity Finder found that 47,426 unique Social Security numbers were made public as a result of the subsequent 27-GB leak of classified Sony documents. That figure includes 15,232 Social Security numbers belonging to current and past Sony employees, while an unspecified amount was associated with celebrities and freelancers.
There are 600 files containing Social Security numbers and 3,253 of the sensitive markers appeared more than 100 times. The 47,426 Social Security numbers appeared over 1.1 million times in the leaked documents, which gives hackers many more "opportunities to wreak havoc," according to said Todd Feinman, president and CEO of Identity Finder.
"As we have seen from the myriad data breaches this year, every organization is vulnerable to an attack," says Feinman. "Security technologies are an important shield, but minimizing the target and reducing the footprint of sensitive data is more critical than ever."
The majority of the leaked Social Security numbers were accompanied by full names, home addresses and dates of birth, according to Identity Finder's report.
If having all of that personal information exposed wasn't uncomfortable enough for the affected parties, individuals claiming to be members of Guardians of Peace (GOP) -- the group that claimed responsibility for the attacks -- stated that they aren't even close to letting up in their war on Sony. On Dec. 5, the individuals sent out threatening emails to Sony's employees.
In the email, the individuals state that no one can stop them and that the only way to defuse the situation is to comply with their demands. They advise the email recipients to make Sony "behave wisely."
"Many things beyond imagination will happen at many places of the world (sic)," stated the email. "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."
A Sony spokesperson said the company is aware of the latest email threat and is working with law enforcement to mitigate the problem.