U.S. officials finally confirmed today that they believe North Korea was behind the Sony Pictures hack that led the studio to pull The Interview from theaters. Blaming the North Koreans is convenient, as it makes sense that they would be outraged by a film about the assassination of dictator Kim Jong-un, and Sony can argue that it stood little chance against a foreign government's team of hackers. However, many don't buy that a country with limited technological capabilities would be capable of such an attack and wonder why North Korea has repeatedly denied any connection to it (after all, it's a country that's fond of threatening to turn enemy nations into a "sea of flames").
Though not quite as devastating as Target's recent 40 million-wide violation, as many as 1.2 million credit cards may have been compromised by malware on Staples' systems over two months this summer. The breach is said to affect 1,400 stores, either between July 20 and September 16, or from August 10 to September 16, depending upon location. To help
teachers consumers deal with the fallout, Staples says it's offering identity theft protection and credit monitoring, among other services.
The St. Louis prosecutor in charge of former police officer Darren Wilson's grand jury investigation decided to put his foot in his mouth and chomp down Friday, when he defended allowing lying witnesses to appear before the grand jury. "Clearly some were not telling the truth," Robert McCulloch said, adding that they won't face legal repercussions. After hearing conflicting testimonies, the grand jury decided to not pursue charges against Wilson.
Attention all meninists! President Obama has subtly acknowledged and even offered his approval of the brewing feminist revolution. At his last press conference of 2014, he made a point to call on only female reporters, even flat-out ignoring a question shouted by a man in favor of calling on a woman. Dudes, ya burnt.
Hours after the FBI concluded that North Korea was definitely responsible for the cyberattack on Sony, President Obama criticized the studio's decision to pull The Interview from theaters at the hackers' request. At his year-end press conference, Obama allowed that he was sympathetic to Sony's concerns, but said the studio "made a mistake" in shutting down the film's entire theatrical release. "We cannot have a society where some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship on the United States," he said. "If someone is able to intimidate someone from releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they'll do if they see a documentary or a news report they don't like. Or even worse, if producers engage in self-censorship so they don't offend the sensibilities of people who need to be offended." Obama finished by vowing a "proportionate response" to North Korea, but refused to take the symbolic step of watching The Interview himself.
Convicted child molester and ex–Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky lost a battle to restore his $4,900 monthly pension checks from the state Friday, in a ruling by the State Employees' Retirement System. Sandusky had already received more than $1 million from the fund before he was sentenced and cut off, and isn't likely to get another chance to use the money as a free man: He's 70, and serving a minimum of three decades. His lawyer, however, plans to appeal this decision in court, with the ruling hinging on the key question of whether Sandusky's old crimes are covered by a 2004 addition of sex crimes to the state's forfeiture laws.
While it’s not exactly a secret that many Capitol Hill Democrats have a distant — if not dysfunctional — relationship with the White House, rarely has the family feud gone as public as it did with the omnibus spending bill last week. House progressives, inspired by Elizabeth Warren and led by Nancy Pelosi, protested and nearly blocked the $1.1 trillion spending bill, and required frantic arm-twisting from the White House to avoid another round of shutdown brinksmanship next year. Representative Keith Ellison, Minnesota Democrat and co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, breaks down the progressive revolt and what it portends for the next Congress.
Sony's long international nightmare appears to be over: After the studio took the unprecedented step of canceling the entire theatrical release of The Interview, the hackers that have been targeting the studio since November will reportedly bring their long series of damaging leaks to an end. In a message sent to Sony Pictures executives, the North Korea–linked hackers say they will "ensure the security of your data unless you make additional trouble." Oh, and just one more thing: Sony needs to "never let the movie [be] released, distributed or leaked in any form," and "everything related to the movie, including its trailers, as well as its full version [must be taken] down from any website hosting them immediately." This is the first time anyone has ever cared this much about a 50-word Vulture post.