North Korea Denies Devastating Sony Cyberattack

Journalist:
December 9, 2014

Entertainment giant Sony has been hacked in one of the most damaging cyberattacks ever. The attackers leaked what appears to be sensitive personal data on roughly 47,000 individuals, including celebrities. Security researchers have analyzed a piece of malware that appears to have been used in the Sony hack, designed to wipe data from infected systems. North Korea is considered a suspect, but the country’s officials have denied any involvement.

At the same time, the North Korean authorities praised the cyberattack as a “righteous deed” potentially orchestrated by supporters furious over a Hollywood comedy depicting a fictional CIA plot to assassinate leader Kim Jong-Un, Security Week reports. The North Korean National Defense Commission told the state-run KCNA news agency:

“The hacking into the Sony Pictures might be a righteous deed of the supporters and sympathizers with the (North) in response to its appeal.”

Security experts said the breach was unprecedented, well-planned and carried out by an “organized group,” Reuters reports.

Kevin Mandia, the top executive at FireEye Inc’s Mandiant forensics unit, said:

“The scope of this attack differs from any we have responded to in the past, as its purpose was to both destroy property and release confidential information to the public. [T]his was an unparalleled and well planned crime, carried out by an organized group, for which neither SPE nor other companies could have been fully prepared.”

Not the First Government Malware Discovered

State-sponsored malware and cyberattacks are more and more frequently reported. In relation to the recent uncovering of the Regin malware, more sophisticated than any known criminal malware and is believed to have been developed and deployed by the government, legendary computer security expert Bruce Schneier said:

“This isn’t the first government malware discovered. GhostNet is believed to be Chinese. Red October and Turla are believed to be Russian. The Mask is probably Spanish. Stuxnet and Flame are probably from the U.S. All these were discovered in the past five years, and named by researchers who inferred their creators from clues such as who the malware targeted.”

Also read: New Revelations on Regin Malware, Possibly State-Sponsored

What do you think of the Sony cyberattack? Is there a defense against malware developed by major governments with massive resources? Comment below!

Images from 360b and Shutterstock.

Giulio Prisco @giulioprisco

Science writer, software developer, Bitcoin/crypto enthusiast.