North Korea doesn’t want Sony’s film to be released
The U.S. government has said that hackers from North Korea were responsible for the cyber attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment.
North Korean hackers may be of the elite class
The hackers from North Korea who perpetrated the cyber attack against Sony are claiming they will not release stolen documents from the company as long as "The Interview," a comedy depicting an assassination attempt against Kim Jong Un, is not released, reported CNN.
The Washington Post noted that in North Korea, going online is not an easy task. Government officials and elite citizens can gain access to the global Internet, but common citizens are limited to domestic networks that feature state media and other state-sponsored information. This limits the United State's ability to trace information back to the perpetrators of the attack, and also raises suspicion regarding the North Korean government. An HP Security briefing explained that North Korea's tight networks prevent access and breaches.
"North Korea's hermit infrastructure creates a cyber-terrain that deters reconnaissance," the brief said, according to The Washington Post. "Today North Korea's air-gapped networks and prioritization of resources for military use provide both a secure and structured base of operations for cyber operations and a secure means of communications."
According to CNN, the FBI officially linked the cyber attack at Sony to the North Korean government. The FBI provided explanation regarding their conclusion.
"The destructive nature of this attack, coupled with its coercive nature, sets it apart," the FBI said in a statement.
The film industry speaks out, but is divided
The Motion Picture Association of America has also made a point to speak out against the cyber attack, describing the breach as a serious situation. Chris Dodd, CEO of the lobbying group, explained that the breach indicates other U.S. institutions could be in danger.
"This is about the fact that criminals were able to hack in and steal what has now been identified as many times the volume of all of the printed material in the Library of Congress," said Dodd, according to CNN.
The perpetrators of the attack apparently had a message for Sony. The anonymous hacker group have called themselves "Guardians of Peace."
"And we want everything related to the movie, including its trailers, as well as its full version down from any website hosting them immediately," the message said, reported CNN.
The Washington Post mentioned that North Korea has prevented cyber attacks of its own networks and has also invested heavily in the creation of a government cyber force that is sophisticated and comprised of the nations' top technical university graduates. Whether GOP are part of this program is not yet known.
Many in the film industry have been quick to lash out against Sony for its decision to delay the movie release. Others have supported the move, sympathizing with the difficult position the company is in.
According to CNN, George Clooney circulated a petition earlier last week in support of Sony's decision not to submit to these hackers.
"This is not just an attack on Sony. It involves every studio, every network, every business and every individual in this country … We hope these hackers are brought to justice but until they are, we will not stand in fear. We will stand together," the petition said, according to the news source.
It remains to be seen how this situation will unfold, but it will no doubt be very interesting as this is a precedent in many ways. Given the highly sensitive and political nature of the film, it may never be released. Whether the hack group stops with one breach or continues to perpetrate attacks cannot be known.