Cybersecurity expert: 'Attackers have outpaced defenders'

Anonymous attack forces Sony to cancel movie release

SAN ANTONIO – Even for former members of an elite computer emergency response team, the anonymous cyberattack on Sony Pictures is nothing like what they've ever encountered.

"Our job was to defend against anybody trying to hack into the Air Force," said Chris Gerritz, CEO of Infocyte, a cybersecurity startup that now helps root out hackers in the civilian world.

Gerritz said the cyberattack on the entertainment giant should serve as a sign of what the future could hold, crippling governments and companies alike.

"It's going to get worse," Gerritz said. "Attackers have outpaced defenders. We're currently losing the war."

Sony hackers already have leaked thousands of embarrassing emails and yet-to-be released films. Threats of violence led major theater chains nationwide to announce they would not show Sony's latest comedy, "The Interview," a parody of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Now has Sony has pulled the movie that was set to premiere Christmas Day.

"It's just one example of what could be done from a hack and from a computer," Gerritz said.

He said of Sony's worst-case scenario, "They continue to maintain access to this network. They continue to do economic damage to Sony."

Gerritz said eventually that could lead to bankruptcy if they lose all their intellectual property.

But he also said protecting against such attacks is possible.

Gerritz said much like companies are willing to pay for fences, guards and other security measures, "We need to up our budgets to defend against this in the cyber realm."

About the Author:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.