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How the Sony hack unfolded

Updated 5:47 PM ET, Sat December 27, 2014
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Sony Pictures announce the controversial comedy "The Interview," a film depicting the assassination of North Korea's leader, will have a limited release on Christmas Day. The studio previously announced it would shelve plans to release the film after it became the victim of a cyber attack thought to have originated in North Korea. Click to see how the saga unfolded. Damian Dovarganes/AP
In June 2014, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said "The Interview" was "the most undisguised terrorism." "If the U.S. administration connives at and patronizes the screening of the film, it will invite a strong and merciless countermeasure," he said. Getty Images
In November, "The Guardians of Peace," a hacker group with suspected ties to North Korea, said that it had hacked Sony Pictures and released massive amounts of data. The group added that there would be more leaks. Shutterstock
December 5 -- Hackers exposed the security numbers of 47,423 people including Conan O'Brien, Sylvester Stallone, Rebel Wilson, Judd Apatow and Frank Stallone. Dave Bjerke/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images/File
In early December, hackers emailed Sony employees warning that "your family will be in danger." Guardians of Peace have claimed the email did not come from them. The FBI confirmed in a statement they were aware of the email and are investigating the "person or group responsible for the recent attack on the Sony Pictures network." Many security experts said the hack increasingly pointed to North Korea.
December 7 -- North Korea's state-run propaganda arm said they were not responsible for the Sony hack attack but applauded it as "a righteous deed of the supporters and sympathizers with the DPRK." They added they could not be responsible as America is "a country far across the ocean." Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images
December 8 -- Another message appeared on a website saying: "We have already given our clear demand to the management team of SONY, however, they have refused to accept. 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!" David Goldman/AP
December 11 -- Another leaked email revealed a controversial exchange between a Sony executive and a producer, speculating over President Barack Obama's favorite films, referring to "Django Unchained" and other movies about African Americans such as "12 Years a Slave." Pete Souza/White House via Getty Images
December 15 -- Sony Pictures asked news organizations to stop examining and publicizing the information made public by the hackers. Attorney David Boies said that the hackers' tactics are part of "an ongoing campaign explicitly seeking to prevent [Sony] from distributing a motion picture." Wi McNamee/Getty
December 16 -- In an email to Sony Pictures' co-chair Amy Pascal, producer Scott Rudin called Angelina Jolie "minimally talented" and a "spoiled brat" with a "rampaging... ego". Jolie and Pascal were later photographed running into each other at an event with Jolie giving Pascal a nasty look. The leaks also revealed the secret aliases of some well-known actors such as Tom Hanks, Sara Michelle Gellar and Jessica Alba. Courtesy Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images
December 16 -- The New York premiere of "The Interview" was canceled after "The Guardians of Peace" posted a threat against moviegoers. The message said: "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," the hacking group said. "The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001." CTMG/Sony
December 17 -- Two former Sony employees sued the company for failing to protect their private information. The plaintiffs seek to form a class action lawsuit of up to 15,000 former employees. The plaintiffs want Sony to provide them with five years of credit monitoring, bank monitoring, identity theft insurance and credit restoration services. They also called for Sony to be subject to regular privacy audits.
December 18 -- Sony decided to cancel the release of "The Interview," a decision that sparked outrage among celebrities and politicians. A movie theater in Texas announced they would offer a free screening of Team America -- which features the leader's father Kim Jong Il -- instead until Paramount shut that down too. Sony also downplayed the possibility that the film could be released online. David Goldman/AP
December 19 -- President Obama said in a news conference that Sony "made a mistake" in response to the studio's decision to cancel its plans to release "The Interview" on Christmas Day. He told CNN later that week that the Sony hack was an act of "cybervandalism", not "an act of war".
December 21 -- Sony Pictures' CEO Michael Lynton responds to President Obama's comments, telling CNN "we did not cave or back down." Mr Lynton also said Sony were looking into releasing "The Interview" on the internet but no major distributor has volunteered to release the film.
December 22 -- North Korea's internet goes black for more than nine hours. The cause of the outage is unknown, but experts have suggested that a lone hacker could have carried it out, others even argued that the North Korean government could have deliberately disconnected themselves. Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
December 23 -- Sony Pictures announced "The Interview" will be released on Christmas Day but only in a limited number of theatres. The studio's CEO Michael Lynton said: "while we hope this is only the first step of the film's release, we are proud to make it available to the public and to have stood up to those who attempted to suppress free speech." So far more than 200 independently-owned theatres have agreed to show the film. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty