The hackers of Sony Pictures Entertainment released a seventh cache of leaked files over the weekend with a promise of a "Christmas gift" to put the company, which has already been forced to cancel the production of several films, "into the worst state."
"We are preparing for you a Christmas gift," the hackers, who call themselves The Guardians of Peace, posted on a website.
"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," CNN Money quoted the hackers as saying in their message.
It is believed that the hackers have launched cyber-attacks on Sony in response to the forthcoming Christmas-day release of the Hollywood studio's film "The Interview," a comedy about a plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
The action comedy film is directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, starring Rogen and James Franco.
"We have already given our clear demand to the management team of SONY, however, they have refused to accept," the hackers said in an earlier message. "Do carry out our demand if you want to escape us. And, Stop immediately showing the movie of terrorism which can break the regional peace and cause the War!"
The cyber-attack, which has revealed four films thus far along with numerous email threads and even salary details of Hollywood stars, has compelled Sony to cancel the production of several of its film projects, according to The Times of London. Sony's network is not being able to process any payments.
Private e-mails show Sony was expecting retaliation by North Korea, and was trying to soften the assassination scene in the film, according to New York Post.
"This is now a story of Americans changing their movie to make North Koreans happy," Rogen wrote in an Aug. 15 e-mail. "That is a very damning story."
Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal insisted on the changes, and told Rogen that she had supported the controversial film.
"I'm not taking no for an answer," Pascal wrote. "If I was prepared to do that, we would have been done a long time ago . . . I would have done the easy thing and shut this down, but I haven't, much to everyone's incredible annoyance here."
Sony has launched a counterattack against file-sharing sites allowing people to download its stolen emails, financial information and feature films. The company is using Amazon.com Inc.'s cloud services to target torrents released by the hackers, according to International Business Times.
Amazon has called the attacks a "misuse of our services."
"AWS employs a number of automated detection and mitigation techniques to prevent the misuse of our services," an Amazon spokesperson was quoted as saying. "In cases where the misuse is not detected and stopped by the automated measures, we take manual action as soon as we become aware of any misuse. Our terms are clear about this. The activity being reported is not currently happening on AWS."