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Cyber-attacks create unique issues for Hollywood

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The folks at Sony Pictures have had a hard week at the office. Social security numbers, salary details, lay off strategies, all exposed because of a massive hack. Oh, and some new and unreleased movies leaked online too.

The perpetrators of the security breach are still unknown. Some speculate that North Korea hacked Sony's networks in political retaliation because of a portrayal of the country's leader Kim Jong Un in the new Sony picture, "The Interview." Others believe this was an inside job, the work of a disgruntled employee. And the FBI now appears to be investigating whether this attack could be just one of many threatening US companies.

Unfortunately, companies get hacked all the time. But when such attacks hit Hollywood, it can create some unique issues. Contracts, syndication agreements, sensitive, even embarrassing, information could be at risk.

How susceptible are entertainment studios to cyber attacks? Brent Lang, Senior Reporter for Film and Media at Variety says that going digital has cut down on production costs and been largely beneficial for big studios, but it's also made them more vulnerable.

That vulnerability was clear to Sony this week. But other studios are monitoring the Sony case carefully and evaluating their own systems. "At least three studios told me off the record that they're reassessing [their] security practices," says Lang.