The FBI has publicly declared that the North Korean government was responsible for a cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment [SPE] that had widespread repercussions for the studio and led to the demise of an upcoming film.
Analysis of the malware carried out by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation found links to North Korea and it comes just a matter of days after SPE pulled The Interview following terrorist threats against theatres.
"We are deeply concerned about the destructive nature of this attack on a private sector entity and the ordinary citizens who worked there," the bureau said, according to The Verge. "North Korea's actions were intended to inflict significant harm on a US business and suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves. Such actions of intimidation fall outside the bounds of acceptable state behaviour."
The FBI analysis found significant similarities in the malware used here to one that North Korea has previously employed and the tools utilised in the attack against SPE were similar to those employed in an attack on South Korean banks in March.
It’s unclear what the FBI response to the attack will be and President Barack Obama is expected to speak later today on the subject of how to respond to North Korea with a “proportional” response being rumoured.
SPE was first attacked towards the end of last month when its systems were taken down across the globe and various files have been released online since, including a handful of the studio’s upcoming releases. More worryingly the personal details of employees such as names, addresses and social security numbers were posted online by the hackers that called themselves “Guardians of Peace”.
North Korea denied it was involved earlier this month, however, the country praised the attack as a “righteous deed”. It also accused SPE of “abetting a terrorist act" and "hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership" of North Korea by producing the film.
The Interview, which was set to be released in the US on Christmas Day, stars James Franco and Seth Rogan as a pair of journalists granted a chat with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader. The two are then recruited by the CIA to assassinate him and it’s now unclear whether the film will ever see the light of day.
Image Credit: Flickr (Keith Martin)