Report: U.S. Government Agrees North Korea Actually Is Behind The Hack Attack On Sony

sony_pictures_logoIt has been a bad, bad month for Sony Pictures. In the wake of the hack that loosed their employees’ most personal information onto the internet, threats of violence resulted in the cancellation of their Christmas-day comedy release The Interview. And now, federal investigators aren’t sure how to point the finger of blame — not because they don’t know who’s behind it, but because they do. North Korea is indeed to blame, administration officials say, and the U.S. has to figure out how to handle international relations in the face of what is not just another hack, but cyberterrorism.

The New York Times reports that federal investigators have concluded that North Korea is “centrally involved” in the Sony hack. The question then becomes: what to do about it?

Senior administration officials told the NYT that the White House still hasn’t decided if publicly accusing North Korea of the attack is the best tactic. Some in the administration feel that the North Korean government should be directly confronted. Others, however, point out that there may not be any consequences the U.S. can credibly threaten, and that revealing exactly how investigators made the link with North Korea could compromise U.S. intelligence operations in the area.

The hackers brought their intrusion to the attention of Sony employees rather dramatically a few days before Thanksgiving, though the attack itself began long before that. Early rumors immediately put agents from or sponsored by North Korea high on the list of suspects, and Sony’s own internal investigation supported the theory, and federal investigators agree.

This act of what some are calling “data terrorism” has been devastatingly successful. Not only are Sony’s movies and all of their dirty laundry out loose in the wild, but also after theater chains all backed out of showing The Interview, Sony has been compelled to cancel its release entirely.

North Korean representatives have been condemning the film since a trailer was released over the summer. Representatives for the country have denied involvement in the attack, but did say that the hack was a “righteous deed” and could have been carried out by “supporters and sympathizers.”

Investigators have uncovered some signs that indicate the hackers may indeed have had inside help from within Sony.

That a North Korean attack has effectively censored the release of an American film made by a Japanese-owned studio is a deeply troubling precedent. Its success means that hackers (from any nation) have every incentive to do something like this again.

The White House press secretary made an official statement on the issue this afternoon, saying only that, “The president considers this to be a serious national security matter”

U.S. Said to Find North Korea Ordered Cyberattack on Sony [New York Times]

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