Sony meeting after hackers vow 'Christmas gift'

Sony meeting after hackers vow 'Christmas gift'

LOS ANGELES - Sony Pictures organised a town hall-style meeting with staff Monday to discuss the massive cyber attack on the Hollywood studio, a day after hackers promised a big "Christmas gift."

Staff were called together at its headquarters west of Los Angeles to hear how the company is responding to the ongoing hacking attack which has produced a string of damaging and highly embarrassing leaks.

A Sony source declined to give further details of the meeting, but it came after the so-called Guardians of Peace (GOP) hacking group promised: "We are preparing for you a Christmas gift.

"The gift will be larger quantities of data. And it will be more interesting. The gift will surely give you much more pleasure and put Sony Pictures into the worst state," added the statement, posted on pastebin.com.

The group has demanded that Sony stop the release due on December 25 - Christmas Day - of the comedy "The Interview," depicting a fictional CIA plot to kill North Korea's leader. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is probing the hack, met Sony staff last week, a spokesman said.

The latest GOP vow came after a series of damaging leaks about Sony salaries, employee health records, unpublished scripts and email exchanges about movie stars and filmmakers, published by websites including gawker.com.

The unflattering leaks - including a producer labeling Angelina Jolie a "minimally talented spoiled brat" - have thrown Sony into damage control mode, amid few signs the leaks are going to stop any time soon.

Sony co-chair Amy Pascal was also shown to have made racially insensitive remarks about President Barack Obama - the first black president of the United States - in company emails.

Sony is trying to determine whether North Korean hackers are the source of the leaks, according to tech website Re/code.

North Korea, however, has denied involvement in the brazen cyber attack on Sony Pictures, but praised it as a "righteous deed" potentially orchestrated by supporters furious over the movie.

Monday's Sony meeting was scheduled for 1:00 pm (2100 GMT) at its headquarters in Culver City, west of downtown Los Angeles.

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