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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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Lawrence O’Donnell throttles Donny Deutsch for saying Elizabeth Warren can’t beat Trump: ‘This is pure guesswork’

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Lawrence O'Donnell and Donny Deutsch had quite the exchange in the post-debate conversation on MSNBC Wednesday.

Deutsch tried to say that Sen. Elizabeth Warren's outstanding debate performance doesn't matter because Warren can't win in a match-up against President Donald Trump.

"I do not believe Elizabeth Warren, on stage with Donald Trump, beats him," he told the MSNBC panel. "And I think if we're honest with ourselves and we look hard at ourselves, I think a lot of people agree with me. It's — and I also think when you can label somebody a socialist, 57 percent of this country thinks that word is un-American. I'm not saying it's fair. When he can blanket Elizabeth Warren as a socialist, and he's on stage with her, the Democrats lose."

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Father and daughter drowning at the border fuels anger at Trump immigration policies

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A shocking photograph of a Salvadoran man and his baby daughter drowned in the Rio Grande fueled a surge of emotion around the world Wednesday -- as US Democrats furiously denounced Donald Trump's immigration policies.

"Trump is responsible for these deaths," said Beto O'Rourke, one of several Democratic White House hopefuls who took to Twitter to lash out at the president.

Former vice president Joe Biden, who is also seeking the presidency in 2020, called the image "gut-wrenching."

"History will judge how we respond to the Trump administration's treatment of immigrant families & children -- we can't be silent," he said.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate

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Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.

The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.

But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.

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