The high-profile cyberattack that crippled Sony Pictures Entertainment last year has taken yet another twist with WikiLeaks putting hundreds of thousands of emails and documents from the hack into a searchable online archive Thursday.
The Sony attack, widely suspected to be the work of North Korea, sent shockwaves through the U.S. entertainment industry when hackers leaked sensitive corporate data. The WikiLeaks archive, which contains 30,287 documents and 173,132 emails, sheds light on Sony Pictures’ relationships with government and industry.
"This archive shows the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation,” said WikiLeaks Founder and Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, in a statement. “It is newsworthy and at the centre of a geo-political conflict. It belongs in the public domain. WikiLeaks will ensure it stays there."
The original archives of leaked documents were not easily searchable, and were removed before the public could fully trawl the information.
Sony Pictures quickly slammed WikiLeaks’ move. “The cyber-attack on Sony Pictures was a malicious criminal act, and we strongly condemn the indexing of stolen employee and other private and privileged information on WikiLeaks,” said a spokeswoman, in a statement emailed to FoxNews.com. “The attackers used the dissemination of stolen information to try to harm SPE [Sony Pictures Entertainment] and its employees, and now WikiLeaks regrettably is assisting them in that effort.”
“We vehemently disagree with WikiLeaks’ assertion that this material belongs in the public domain and will continue to fight for the safety, security, and privacy of our company and its more than 6,000 employees,” she added.
The archive details Sony Pictures’ ties to the White House and connections to the Democratic Party. According to WikiLeaks, the documents also show the “flow of contacts and information” between the entertainment giant and RAND Corporation, which provides research and analysis to the U.S. military. Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton is a member of RAND’s board of trustees.
Additionally, the trove shows Sony Pictures’ development of its movies and its efforts to collect "intelligence" on rival pictures, according to the whistleblowing website. The documents also show Sony in possession of a brochure for an NSA-evaluated “online cloud security set-up called INTEGRITY,” WikiLeaks said.
The U.S. government accused North Korea of launching the devastating Nov. 24 attack against Sony Pictures, which was perpetrated by the shadowy Guardians of Peace group. The cyberassault came as the entertainment giant was preparing to launch its movie “The Interview,” which pokes fun at North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Reeling from the hack, Sony Pictures initially canceled “The Interview’s” widespread Christmas Day release after a number of movie chains said that they would not show the film, but subsequently opted for a limited release.
In December the FBI cited technical analysis of the data detection malware used in the attack, which revealed links to other North Korean malware. Investigators also noted a “significant overlap” between the infrastructure used in Sony attack, such as IP addresses, and other malicious cyber activity linked directly to North Korea. Additionally, the FBI found that tools used in Sony Pictures attack bore similarities to a North Korean cyberattack against South Korean banks and media outlets in March 2013.
Neither RAND Corporation nor the NSA has yet responded to a request for comment on this story from FoxNews.com.
Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers
The Associated Press contributed to this report.