Everybody is in a tizzy over the hacking of Sony Pictures. Most people assume that North Korea was behind the hacking, which caused Sony Pictures to withdraw "The Interview" shortly before it was supposed to open in theaters.
Some of the coverage: "U.S. Intelligence Connects North Korea to Sony Hack: Reports", Newsweek 12/17/14; "A Look At North Korea's Cyberwar Capabilities", Huffington Post 12/18/14; "Obama May Have Forced Sony To Release 'The Interview'", Business Insider, 12/20/14.
Kevin McCready surmises that the hacker threat was
…written by someone who has strong command of English but is pretending they don't. In particular it would be interesting to see if grammatical errors conform to those a Korean might make.
[VHM: also consider lexical and other types of errors]
Here's the initial hacking message from Variety ("Sony Hackers Threaten 9/11 Attack on Movie Theaters That Screen ‘The Interview’", 12/16/14):
We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.
And here are some follow-up remarks by the hacker(s) after Sony backed down — "Sony Hackers Gloat over Studio Pulling Plug on ‘The Interview’: Report", 12/19/14:
The cyber-terrorists behind the attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment sent a message to studio execs late Thursday giving them kudos for the “very wise” decision to not release the “The Interview” in any format, according to a report.
“Now we want you never let the movie released, distributed or leaked in any form of, for instance, DVD or piracy,” the hackers said in a message sent to Sony brass, CNN reported Friday.
The missive, from the group calling itself “Guardians of Peace,” also implied that additional data leaks would stop now that Sony has dropped plans to distribute the film, originally slated for Dec. 25 theatrical debut. The hackers warned the studio in the email that “we still have your private and sensitive data” and said they will “ensure the security of your data unless you make additional trouble,” per CNN.
The hacker message is effectively a victory lap, telling the studio, "Now we want you never let the movie released, distributed or leaked in any form of, for instance, DVD or piracy."
The message 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."
It warns the studio executives that "we still have your private and sensitive data" and claims that they will "ensure the security of your data unless you make additional trouble."
The email was titled "Message from GOP." The anonymous hackers have called themselves "Guardians of Peace."
Taking up Kevin's suggestions, would those who are familiar with Korean look at the hacker's English and see if they detect any traces of Korean influence? I would go one step further and request that all Language Log readers who are interested analyze the errors and infelicities of the hacker's language to see whether there is any evidence of influence from some other language or, indeed, whether the errors are intentional and committed by a native speaker of English masquerading as a nonnative.