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Hackers demand Sony remove all signs The Interview existed or more data will be released

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The hackers who attacked Sony Pictures are making more demands of the studio following their success in scrapping the release of The Interviewaccording to CNN. CNN reports that top Sony executives received an email from the hacking group last night with a message saying that it would withhold further data, but only if the studio never let anyone see The Interview or pretty much any sign that The Interview ever existed.

"Now we want you never let the movie released, distributed or leaked in any form."

"It's very wise that you have made the decision to cancel the release of The Interview. It will be very useful for you," CNN reports the message as reading. The email concludes, "We will ensure the security of your data unless you make additional trouble."

Unfortunately for Sony, that "trouble" includes a laundry list of perceived issues: "Now we want you never let the movie released, distributed or leaked in any form of, for instance, DVD or piracy," the message reportedly says. It also says, "And we want everything related to the movie, including its trailers, as well as its full version down from any website hosting them immediately."

That's both good and bad news for Sony. It is likely relieved that, for now, it has stopped the publication of damaging stolen data, such as executives' emails. But removing "everything related to the movie" from the internet is an impossible task. And even if the hackers don't follow through with their threat and continue to withhold the data because the film isn't being released, Sony will effectively be blackmailed into censoring itself indefinitely so that it can keep this data away from the public. The fact that giving into hacker demands is seemingly effective will also not please critics of Sony, who say that it was cowardly to have cancelled The Interview's release, even in spite of threatened attacks on moviegoers.

US officials are expected to say later today that North Korea is behind the hack. It is unclear what response the United States will take, but the White House press secretary already began setting expectations yesterday, suggesting that whatever the US does will be "proportional." The press secretary said that the attackers may be looking for a specific response, and the US will be mindful of that in its reaction.

Sony was hacked at the end of November. Over the past two weeks, the hackers have been releasing stolen data to the public, creating some huge issues for Sony that range from deeply embarrassing to highly damaging. On Tuesday, the hackers threatened attacks on theaters screening The Interview. Sony cancelled the film's release on Wednesday and has said that it has no further plans to make it public.