Don’t be like Sony: data leaks are contagious

It’s a thing now. You open an executable file and your data is suddenly held hostage. Even the hackers can’t stop the ticking clock. So you pay the ransom. We are downloading compressed files (we can’t see what they are until we open them) and trusting the hackers who hacked Sony not to do the same thing again, to us.

Their communications are amorphous, using hacked email accounts, stealing someone else’s identity to disguise their own. The Sony hack itself was a masterpiece. We still don’t know who did it, and that’s with FBI cybercrime on the homefront, the Air Force cybersecurity devision on the front lines, and Homeland Security mucking about on both sides.

Their con began the way it always does, a ransom note. Apparently Sony didn’t pay, because if they had, we would be hearing another cautionary tale. Instead all the machines went screen of death, not blue screen of death, burning skeleton screen of death. And now everyone who worked at Sony is afraid their dirty laundry might get aired.

The hackers have offered amnesty. Employees of Sony may contact them and ransom their own dirt. It’s like phone hacking, with a twist. The celebrity dirt is being held for ransom. The tabloid market will pay. Let’s have an auction. It’s the same as ransoming western journalists. The money fuels the lawlessness machine. If you pay the ransom, that creates incentive for the lawlessness machine to take more hostages.

Only these opportunists realized they could up the stakes. They are trying to steal Christmas. By that I mean the box office receipts from Christmas 2014. They are threatening to bomb any theatre that shows The Interview with James Franco and Seth Rogan. Is it a great loss? I don’t know. I’ve never seen it. I watched their old picture, This Is The End, again today. I own it. It’s about salvation in the midst of a world gone hopelessly wrong. Very good film, honestly. I wisht they wouldn’ta used so dang many cuss words, as a feller says.

The hackers are demanding that we turn our backs on freedom of speech, and the film industry, our biggest export. Or else. Or else what? Remember when Saudi Arabia offered to guarantee there would be no terrorist attacks at the Winter Olympics in Russia? What did President Putin say? So can I. The very idea that one can negotiate with terrorists is nonsense. It’s a hustle. It’s appeasement. It’s Neville Chamberlain. Are we a sovereign nation or not?

Step one, nobody download these trojan horse files with leaked documents attached, unless of course you want your data held for ransom. Step two, go to the movies. They will not hold our movie palaces for ransom either. Nor will they hold our people and our traditions, however recent, for ransom. We are not for sale. We do not negotiate with terrorists. We are not afraid.

Step three, either Sony stand up to the bully and present your Christmas movie, or Paramount eat Sony’s lunch and show Team America, World Police. This aggression will not stand. Whoever is behind it is obviously a coward, which is why they choose to remain in the shadows. Plus, they don’t have the resources to back it up. Bunch of amateurs.

Print waivers on the ticket stubs. Hang “See Something, Say Something” posters in the lobby. You’re going to have to do both those things anyway. Why not start now, instead of surrendering the highest grossing box office day of the year?

And be careful what you download.