Sony hack: US accuses North Korea of mounting devastating attack

North Korea is officially behind the hack Sony Entertainment Pictures, the FBI has said

The US has officially accused North Korea of launching the cyber hack on Sony that saw vast troves of highly confidential company material stolen, and forced the firm into cancelling the release of its forthcoming movie, The Interview.

North Korea has been suspected of being behind the attack for some time but the US had not gone as far as to say on record that the nation was behind the attack on the record. However, the FBI has now confirmed that after analysing the attack, it is certain North Korea carried out the hacking.

“As a result of our investigation (…) the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions.”

The FBI said it arrived at this conclusion based on several factors. This included analysing the malware used in the attack to cross reference it with other software attacks from North Korea and spotting similar patterns.

The infrastructure used to mount the attack, such as internet protocol (IP) addresses, also had overlap with addresses seen in other attacks from the country.

The FBI also said there were similarities in the malware used to that which hit banks in South Korea in 2013, which was discovered to have come from North Korea. This is most likely the DarkSeoul malware,

The FBI said the nature of the attack posed a severe danger to businesses in the US and it’s the general public.

“North Korea’s attack on Sony reaffirms that cyber threats  pose one of the gravest national security dangers to the United States. Though the FBI has seen a wide variety and increasing number of cyber intrusions, the destructive nature of this attack, coupled with its coercive nature, sets it apart,” it said.

“North Korea’s actions were intended to inflict significant harm on a U.S. business and suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves. Such acts of intimidation fall outside the bounds of acceptable state behaviour.”

The FBI also praised Sony for its actions during the attack, noting that their prompt alerts to the FBI made it possible for the agency to help identify North Korea as the culprits.

“Sony reported this incident within hours, which is what the FBI hopes all companies will do when facing a cyber attack. Sony’s quick reporting facilitated the investigators’ ability to do their jobs, and ultimately to identify the source of these attacks.”

There is now pressure on the US to respond to North Korea after the attack, which is a clear example of the threat hackers can pose to businesses if adequate security controls are not put in place.

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19 December 2014 | 5:43 pm – Source: v3.co.uk

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