Sony Hack: North Korea’s cyber army suspected as FBI warns of spreading internet warfare

Sony Pictures’ systems have finally been restored after week long attack, which might have been prompted by controversial Kim Jong-Un-baiting film The Interview

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The Independent Tech

The FBI has warned that a powerful attack on Sony Pictures this week, which took down the company’s entire computer systems, could be the beginning of a co-ordinated cyber-attack on western business.

If the attack on Sony came from a foreign power, as suspected, it would mark the first major cyber-attack against a company on US soil.

An FBI report said that malware could be used to break into computer networks of businesses across the US, Reuters reported, and other companies may already have fallen victim to them.

The software described looks like the one used in the Sony attack, experts told Reuters. It acts by overriding all of the data on computers’ hard drives, including the parts that let them make backups.

The Sony Pictures hack began last week, when hackers took over all of Sony Pictures’ computer systems and posted a series of demands to the PCs. The systems were crippled over the last week, with sensitive documents related to stars including Angelina Jolie and Cameron Diaz said to be at risk.

Sony Pictures’ computer systems are now restored, Deadline reported last night.

The attack has been linked with North Korea, and if true is thought to be a response to soon to be released film The Interview — which included a scene of leader Kim Jong-un’s face melting off, until it was edited out. Rumours of North Korean involvement came about yesterday, and this morning NBC reported that the FBI was treating the country as a possible suspect.

A message sent to The Verge claiming to be from the hackers said that while their object had not been The Interview, the fact that the connection could be made with the film showed how powerful it was.


“This shows how dangerous film The Interview is,” the message said. “The Interview is very dangerous enough to cause a massive hack attack.

“Sony Pictures produced the film harming the regional peace and security and violating human rights for money. The news with The Interview fully acquaints us with the crimes of Sony Pictures.

“Like this, their activity is contrary to our philosophy. We struggle to fight against such greed of Sony Pictures.”

The group said in the email that they “won't give up this attack unless Sony Pictures collapse to the end."

Hewlett-Packard looked into North Korea's cyber warfare capabilities over the summer. It found that the country has penetrated US military systems more than any other.

Though internet services are practically non-existent in North Korea, that gives it an advantage because attacks on the country would be unlikely to have any effect, HP said. The hackers, reportedly trained by China, Russia and Iran, has attacked GPS systems and online games, Re/Code said.

If North Korea are involved in the attack, it will be the first time a foreign power has attacked a film studio. It will also be the first time that foreign powers have used piracy as a tool of attack — hackers leaked a number of films, including unreleased Fury and the new Annie, onto the internet over the weekend.

The North Korean government denounced the film as “undisguised sponsoring of terrorism, as well as an act of war” in a letter to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in June.