North Korea Applauds Sony Pictures Hack But Denies Involvement
A cyber intrusion on November 24th shut down the computer systems of Sony Pictures and leaked a handful of its upcoming films online. The hack also resulted in exposing the personal information, including salary figures, of the studio’s employees and Hollywood talent. A group dubbed Guardians of Peace, or GOP for short, took credit for the hack.
Ever since the breach, North Korea was being linked to the hacking attack because it has been criticizing Sony Pictures for distributing “The Interview,” a comedy flick in which Seth Rogen and James Franco plot to assassinate Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) leader Kim Jong-un.
North Korea deemed the movie “an act of war” sponsored by Washington’s “hostile policy.” A North Korean-controlled site by the name of Uriminzokkiri had previously released a statement that claims Rogen and Franco deserve some “stern punishment” for playing a lead role in the movie that is an incredible “insult” to their nation.
However, North Korea on Saturday released a long statement to deny their involvement in the “fatal” hacking of Sony Pictures but still applauded the attack, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
A North Korean government spokesperson said in the statement:
We do not know where in America the SONY Pictures is situated and for what wrongdoings it became the target of the attack nor we feel the need to know about it. The hacking into the SONY Pictures might be a righteous deed of the supporters and sympathizers with the DPRK in response to its appeal.
The statement also accused South Korea of floating the story about the North’s involvement. “The South Korean puppet group went the lengths of floating the false rumor that the north was involved in the hacking that happened in the U.S., a country far across the ocean,” the statement said.
There’s no direct evidence that could link North Korea to the hacking attack at Sony Pictures, however, there are a number of cyber security analysts who believe GOP is connected to North Korea.
The secretive nation itself is cut off from the Internet, and has access to only a handful of state-approved websites. But South Korean and American officials said North Korea has been training specialists in cyber attacks for years to exploit web for collecting technological data and spreading the country’s propaganda online.
Back to Sony Pictures hacking incident, Variety has now reported that GOP was sending emails to the studio’s employees threatening to harm them and their family members. The hacker group made only a single demand, that is, to sign their name to object the false of the company, and warned that those who don’t would “suffer damage.”
A Sony Pictures spokesman admitted in a statement saying:
We understand that some of our employees have received an email claiming to be from GOP. We are aware of the situation and working with law enforcement.
The FBI said they are aware of threatening emails and they will continue to investigate this matter in order to trace the group responsible for the recent attack.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter