The photo, which Reddit users said had been posted across Sony Pictures computers (Links have been blurred out)

Group threatened to release data if demand were not met

A hacker group broke into Sony Pictures’ computer system and took control of all of its computers to threaten to release sensitive documents.

The hacker collective, which calls itself #GOP or Guardians of Peace, brought down all Sony Pictures computers on Monday and forced them to show a message that read: “We’ve already warned you, and this is just a beginning.

“We continue till our request be met… If you don’t obey us, we’ll release the data shown to the world.”

The message gave a deadline of November 24, at 11pm GMT. But that deadline passed without the documents being released, or any details released on the hackers’ demands or whether they had been met. (On the screenshot above, links to the protected files have been blurred, to avoid promoting the sites.)

There was then a list of URLs, each hosting a range of apparently internal documents. Reddit users picked through the documents, which seemed to include podcasts, internal policy documents and files of passwords.

That was likely how the hackers had taken over a number of Sony Picture’s Twitter feeds, users said. Official Twitter feeds for films including Stomp The Yard, Starship Troopers and Soul Surfer tweeted a similar image to the one that had appeared on computers.

“You, the criminals including Michael Lynton [Sony Entertainment’s CEO] will surely go to hell,” the tweets said. “Nobody can help you.”

The matter is not thought to have affected any of Sony’s other divisions.

 “We are investigating an IT matter,” SPE spokeswoman Jean Guerin told Variety in an emailed statement.