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Sony Pictures struggles to recover after cyber attack wipes out company data

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Eight days after a massive cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Hollywood studio was still struggling to restore some systems on Tuesday evening as investigators combed for evidence to identify the culprit.

Some employees at the Sony Corp entertainment unit studio were given new computers to replace ones that had been attacked with the rare data-wiping virus, which had made their machines unable to operate, according to a person with knowledge of Sony’s operations.

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The hack, which was launched Nov. 24, only affected computers with Microsoft Corp’s Windows software, so Sony employees using Apple Inc Macs, including many in the marketing department, had not been affected, according to the person who was not authorized to publicly discuss the attack.

The difficulties to restore service at Sony underscore the severity of the breach, which experts say is the first major attack on a U.S. company to use a highly destructive class of malicious software that is designed to make computer networks unable to operate.

Government investigators led by the FBI are considering multiple suspects in the attack, including North Korea, according to a U.S. national security official with knowledge of the investigation.

The FBI on Monday warned U.S. businesses about hackers’ use of malicious software and suggested ways to defend themselves. The warning said some of the software used by the hackers had been compiled in Korean, but it did not discuss any possible connection to North Korea.

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FORENSIC INVESTIGATION

Sony Pictures Entertainment shut down its internal computer network last week to prevent the data-wiping software from causing further damage, forcing employees to use paper and pen.

The studio has brought back some systems on line, focusing first on those from which the company generates revenues, including those involved with marketing and distributing its films and TV shows, according to the person with knowledge of the studio’s operations.

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Representatives with the California-based studio have declined to publicly comment on the extent of the breach or discuss who they suspect is behind the attack.

The U.S. national security official, who asked to remain anonymous, told Reuters on Tuesday that the forensic investigation is in its early stages, and that no clear suspects have emerged.

But the official said multiple suspects are being assessed, including the North Korean government, other nations and private parties.

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Representatives with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, which are investigating the breach, declined to comment.

The technology news site Re/code reported Nov. 28 that Sony was investigating whether hackers working on behalf of the North Korean government were responsible for the attack as retribution for the company’s backing of the film The Interview.

The comedy, which is due to be released in the United States and Canada on Dec. 25, is about a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Pyongyang denounced the film as “an act of war” in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in June.

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(Reporting by Ronald Grover, Mark Hosenball and Jim Finkle; Additional reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Mary Milliken and Lisa Shumaker)

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‘Brett Kavanaugh’s penis is back in the news’: Bill Maher breaks down the latest Supreme Court scandal

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HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher broke down the latest scandal facing the United States Supreme Court.

"Brett Kavanaugh's penis is back in the news," Maher said. "The New York Times kind of tripped over his dick on this one."

Maher suggested the report reflects poorly on Kavanaugh's manhood.

"The problem is the woman, the victim, has no recollection of it happening -- which isn't really a ringing endorsement of his penis," Maher said.

Watch:

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‘It’s all up to Republicans’: Columnist wonders when the GOP will stand up to Trump

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President Donald Trump's burgeoning scandal with Ukraine has one columnist wondering when Republicans will put country before party.

"I was going to write today about how House Democrats are handling the impeachment question. But the truth is, it’s largely irrelevant. As long as Republicans are united in opposition, President Donald Trump will stay in office," Bloomberg Opinion columnist Jonathan Bernstein wrote. "That’s not to say that there aren’t bad and worse choices for Democrats, but they’re not the ones who have the real decision to make."

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Kellyanne Conway’s husband scorches Democrats for not impeaching Trump in blistering WaPo op-ed

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President Donald Trump has been "emboldened" by congressional inaction, according to a powerful new op-ed published Friday evening by The Washington Post.

The bipartisan appeal was written by prominent Republican attorney George Conway, who is the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, and Neal Katyal, who served as the acting Solicitor General during the Obama administration.

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