In response to some emailed threats of violence, Sony withdrew it's new comedy film, which skewered North Korea and its leader Kim Jong Un.
This prompted Newt Gingrich to decry the action as losing the first cyberwar battle. I suppose. On the other hand I always thought Sony was a Japanese company. I guess Newt has an inclusive vision of who constitutes "us". Certainly the Japanese have been loyal and useful American allies and trade partners for 70 years so maybe they are "us".
Pulling the film means Sony gives up box office revenues, still the most important revenue source for movies. They have some $40 million sunk into production costs which Sony is kissing good bye. Of course these are the same Sony executives who were dumb enough commit their snark to email. Everyone (except Sony execs) knows email is so insecure that any thing put in email might as well be posted on the local bulletin board. You don't bad mouth customers or acting talent you might need to do business with, in public. Email is public. Ollie North showed us this back during the Iran Contra affair in the 1980's. Sony execs are slow learners. Dead slow.
You also have to wonder about terrorist/hacker good faith. Sony pulls the flick, but will the terrorist/hackers refrain from publishing more embarrassing emails? Or call off their theater shooters? Who knows?
Uncle Sam is making noises like the Sony hack was done by the North Koreans. It will be interesting to see what evidence they can produce. Surely the hackers went thru one of the various anonymizer sites to cover their tracks.
Another question. How do you go about retaliating? Do the Norks even have computers for us to hack back at? Surely they don't have on line banking or stock trading for us to mess up. Are we willing to call a hack attack an act of war and take some kind of real military action against the Norks? I don't think so. They don't have any international trade to speak of. They don't care about world opinion.