Fortune has an outstanding in-depth look into the Sony hack, ostensibly perpetrated by North Korea and this is only part 1:
Before Sony’s IT staff could pull the plug, the hackers’ malware had leaped from machine to machine throughout the lot and across continents, wiping out half of Sony’s global network. It erased everything stored on 3,262 of the company’s 6,797 personal computers and 837 of its 1,555 servers. To make sure nothing could be recovered, the attackers had even added a little extra poison: a special deleting algorithm that overwrote the data seven different ways. When that was done, the code zapped each computer’s startup software, rendering the machines brain-dead.
From the moment the malware was launched—months after the hackers first broke in—it took just one hour to throw Sony Pictures back into the era of the Betamax. The studio was reduced to using fax machines, communicating through posted messages, and paying its 7,000 employees with paper checks.
That was only the beginning of Sony’s horror story. Before destroying the company’s data, the hackers had stolen it. Over the next three weeks they dumped nine batches of confidential files onto public file-sharing sites: everything from unfinished movie scripts and mortifying emails to salary lists and more than 47,000 Social Security numbers. Five Sony films, four of them unreleased, were leaked to piracy websites for free viewing. Then the hackers threatened a 9/11-style attack against theaters, prompting Sony to abandon The Interview’s Christmas release. A week later, after an uproar, the studio announced it would make the movie available, after all, through video on demand and in a few hundred theaters.
Read the entire article. It is worth your time.