December 23, 2014

3 Lessons Businesses Can Learn From the Sony Hacking Scandal

By Lauren C.

North Korea’s cyber-attack on Sony Pictures over the satirical film The Interview has created quite an international stir. The Sony Pictures’ film stars Seth Rogen and James Franco depict two pseudo journalists hired by the CIA that assassinate the leader of the hermit kingdom, Kim Jung- Un. As a result, real North Korean hackers attacked Sony Pictures and exposed a large amount of embarrassing emails and private information about celebrities. Sony decided to pull the plug and cancel The Interview after North Korea made threats on movie theaters throughout the country that were going to show the film.

The cancellation of the movie has led to an enormous amount of criticism by free speech advocates, Hollywood, pundits, and even the President himself. After much criticism and mockery, Sony finally decided to safely release The Interview by playing it in limited theaters. The aftermath of this back and forth has brought about many valuable lessons that businesses can learn from the political and international cyber-attack on Sony Pictures.

1. Emails are forever. A phone call is a private conversation between two individuals. Unless the conversation is secretly recorded, there is more leeway for frank discussions. Emails on the other hand are in writing, and their digital contents can never truly be disposed of. Make sure employees understand the importance of keeping information both courteous and professional in emails. One source explains, “You can never retrieve an email message, which is precisely why observing the best practices of email etiquette from the outset is so important.”

2. If you have a good product, don’t abandon it. According to some critics, Sony Picture’s biggest mistake was caving to an oppressive dictator who shouldn’t have a say in what the United States can or cannot produce. If your business has a product that is worth protecting, most critics argue that there is no sense in abandoning it simply because others tell you to do so. Some of the finest inventions like the printing press, the airplane, and the steam engine were highly controversial in their day, and we can now see how vital these inventions have been to society as a whole. The substance of the movie itself can be debated, but the right of a country to produce a movie critical of another country is protected under the First Amendment.

3. Up your digital security game. We are on the brink of new territory where cyber-attacks can become more devastating than ever before, and as the capacity for affecting nuclear power plants and banking information remains a real, imminent threat. It is important that businesses understand the importance of securing data so its content is difficult to breach, especially for online shoppers who are entering valuable information into field forms on a consistent basis. Small businesses are often the target of these attacks because they aren’t expecting an assault like a large company would. One source asserts that, “Cyber- attacks on small businesses rose 300 percent in 2012 from the previous year.” It’s important to research the latest in digital security so your business is prepared for the worst, no matter how unwarranted it may seem at the moment.


When these types of scandals arise, businesses must understand that they are not immune from similar, though less damaging, problems. Our digital world has created uncharted territory where electronic commerce and mobile commerce are at risk simply by having data online. However, by taking the proper precautions, companies can be confident in their products and fearless in protecting personal customer data from hackers.


  1. hacking is not a problem now a days, so we take most security and anti virus programs

    1. Thank you for your interest and comment on our blog. You're right; being hacked isn't something that companies or individuals think might happen to them, but it's always something to watch out for.