Sony salary leaks of the top 17 paid executives is causing problems for the studio for new contract negotiations. This is the latest fallout from a hacking attack that happened last week against Sony Pictures Entertainment, according to TMZ. A payroll spreadsheet was posted on a website called Fusion, which listed how much they were paid.
“LEAKS: Michael Lynton, CEO of SPE, and Amy Pascal, co-chair of SPE, are each paid $3 million per year.”
Also revealed were the alleged salaries of a number of other division heads including Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures Television ($2.8 million); Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures ($2.35 million); Screen Gems president Clint Culpepper ($1.8 million); and Sony production president Michael De Luca ($1.5 million).
Lynton presumably receives additional compensation for his role as CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment where he oversees the company’s global businesses including Sony Music Entertainment and Sony/ATV Music Publishing. The leaks were sent as anonymous e-mails to the Fusion’s webmaster. He included a portion of the documents on a page, but is still reviewing documents listing the salaries of more than 6,000 employees.
The Sony salary leaks resulted in five Sony films — including “Fury” (starring Brad Pitt) and unreleased movies such as “Annie” and “Mr. Turner” — being stolen and posted to piracy networks, according to The Inquisitr. Sony is working with the FBI and other agencies to investigate the breach, and the studio has hired security firm FireEye and its Mandiant unit to look into the incident.
In the leaks, an image of a skeleton appeared on company computers with a message that said, “Hacked by #GOP,” with the group behind it calling itself “Guardians of Peace.” The message threatened to release “secrets and top secrets” of the company. The FBI is still investigating the hack.
Hackers breached the network on November 24, 2014 and received personally identifiable information about Sony Pictures Entertainment employees and their dependents, e-mails between employees. They also received information from the leaks about executive salaries at the company, and copies of unreleased Sony films. The data was obtained and released by the hacker group going under the moniker “Guardians of Peace” or “GOP”.
Although United States intelligence officials believe the cyber-attack was sponsored by the North Korean government, North Korea has denied all responsibility. The identities of the hackers are currently unknown. There is no information currently available regarding whether or not individuals at Sony Pictures Entertainment assisted in the system compromise.
Although the motives for the Sony salary leaks have yet to be revealed, the hack has been tied to the planned release of the film The Interview. The movie depicts an assassination attempt on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The hackers threatened acts of terrorism if the film were to be released.
The Guardians of Peace (GOP) have made various threats relating to terrorism and the September 11 attacks that have drawn the attention of U.S. security agencies. North Korean state-sponsored hackers are suspected of being involved in part due to specific threats made toward Sony and movie theaters showing The Interview. North Korean officials had previously expressed concerns about the film to the United Nations.
“…to allow the production and distribution of such a film on the assassination of an incumbent head of a sovereign state should be regarded as the most undisguised sponsoring of terrorism as well as an act of war.”
U.S. government officials believe the Sony salary leaks were done by the North Korean government. White House officials are treating the Sony hack as a “serious national security matter.” However, some members of the press and various cybersecurity experts have expressed doubt on the claims that North Korea was behind the hacking, notes CNN. The country has been experiencing internet outages during the past week.