White House Considering ‘Range of Options’ In Sony Attack

kim jong un Sony Cyber Attach
Han Myung-Gu/WireImage

The U.S. government is considering “a range of options in weighing a potential response” to the hacking attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, as reports swirled on Wednesday that investigators have concluded that North Korea is linked to the security breach on the studio.

“The United States is investigating attribution and will provide an update at the appropriate time,” said a spokeswoman for the White House’s National Security Council, without naming North Korea.  “The U.S. government is working tirelessly to bring the perpetrators of this attack to justice, and we are considering a range of options in weighing a potential response.”

Earlier on Wednesday, CNN, CNBC and other news outlet cited unnamed sources in reporting that hackers working on behalf of the North Korean government were behind the attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment.

“We have found linkage to the North Korean government,” a source told CNBC.

CNN’s Evan Perez said that an announcement is expected on Thursday that would “assign attribution” to the country, which threatened retaliation over the release of “The Interview.”

An FBI official said that the agency had no immediate comment because the investigation is ongoing. But they are expected to issue a statement on their findings within the next day.

The New York Times reported that U.S. officials had differences of opinion on whether the hackers were aided by Sony insiders. The Times reported that U.S. officials had determined that North Korea was “centrally involved” in the attacks on Sony.

It’s unclear what kind of action the U.S. may take, if any, in response, or whether it would issue any kind of an official statement.

“The U.S. government closely monitors all reports of breaches affecting U.S. companies, U.S. consumers, and U.S. infrastructure,” NSC spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement. “We know that criminals and foreign countries regularly seek to gain access to government and private sector networks – both in the United States and elsewhere.”

She added, “We are aware of Sony’s announcement regarding ‘’The Interview.’  The United States respects artists’ and entertainers’ right to produce and distribute content of their choosing. The U.S. government has no involvement in such decisions.  We take very seriously any attempt to threaten or limit artists’ freedom of speech or of expression.”

In an interview with ABC News on Wednesday, President Obama said that his administration was taking the hacker attack seriously but that “for now my recommendation would be, go to the movies.” The interview apparently was conducted before Sony announced that it was pulling the movie from release after major theater chains decided not to show it.

On Tuesday, the studio said that it was leaving a decision of whether to show the movie to exhibitors. That came after the hackers issued a threat of physical harm and a “9/11” style attack at theaters where the movie was being shown. But an official with the Department of Homeland Security told media outlets that there was “no credible intelligence” showing an active plot.

Meehan said that the U.S. government “has offered Sony Pictures Entertainment support and assistance in response to the attack. ” The FBi is leading the investigation.

An FBI official had no comments on reports of North Korea’s involvement, citing an ongoing investigation.

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  1. Russell WIlson says:

    Didn’t seem quite so obvious to me. But if they say so. What the method of retaliation. Another cyberattack that no one knows about, so we can’t see behind the scenes. #Democracy

  2. Wlad Spany says:

    Sony has long ignored negative comments from customers and I’d be willing to bet that this hack is the result of long standing frustration with that attitude, plus the unwarranted and unreasonable actions of organizations like the MPAA. It’s been pointed out in several articles that this intrusion was against Sony Pictures, rather than Sony Corporation, but since one controls the other, they are one and the same and the policies of the corporation influence and control the entertainment arm. Personally I gave up on buying Sony products years ago because of their lousy customer service. Having said all that, I would be willing to bet that the single biggest factor that allowed this intrusion is BYOD. As someone who works in (the security group of) an industry where BYOD is allowed, I am both horrified and (slightly) delighted to see things like this happen. It provides a huge boost to our funding, but at the same time, senior management continues to insist that we allow them to use their personal iPad/iPhone, etc. on the company network http://tinyurl.com/qjgd49f

  3. Ken says:

    I am certain we will send them a stern letter and dislike them on Facebook.

    • Yes, I like your reply! I think everyone is making a huge big deal about this! Obviously N. Korea is not going to bomb America! But I still think it was very silly of SONY to green-light this project in the first place. Pure provocation that no-one reflected on at the time. Apparently the film isn’t very good. Just put it straight to video! An even better idea: post the mediocre reviews so the the officials in NK can see that all the fuss was not worth the effort!

  4. jack says:

    We Ned to ban Sony until this film is released. They need to be taught a lesson.

  5. just-thinking says:

    Instead of releasing it in theaters why not make it a pay-per-view nationwide on December 25? Cable companies, satellite-all release at the same time for pay. It’s still released, possibly to more traffic than expected for the movie.

  6. Spielburg Von Flinger says:

    Too little, too late, from the absentee Obama administration.

    Obama can get all involved in stirring up Ferguson, but totally drops the ball here.

    • But why should Obama, or the government, get involved, for heaven’s sake? If Sony takes the risk to green-light a film – a comedy, no less – about a mad dictator in a politically crazy and potentially dangerous country and thinks there will be no retaliation, then their executives are not thinking rationally or realistically! In my humble opinion, it’s the studio’s complete responsibility, not Obama’s.

      • Jack Tor s says:

        Because they threatened the American people with a terrorist attack if they go see the movie. Don’t fool yourself, this is terrorism, pure and simple and the US NEEDS to respond.

  7. Kirk Land says:

    North Korea is untouchable. With China behind them as well as the Russians what is there to do? Can’t do sanctions as there are already maximum sanctions implemented. Europe doesn’t care what happened to Sony, neither does the rest of the world.

    Good luck on this one.

  8. Since they hit Sony through the web and threatened us with another 9/11, they are considered terrorists by definition. I am confident that between the NSA,CIA, and FBI, there are some counter measures that would make their use of the Internet very difficult going forward for a long long time. We have a lot of very smart tech people here and since only the N. Korean Govt. uses the internet in N. Korea keeping the entire country off of the internet should be an option available to the USA.

  9. jhs39 says:

    There are no options to deal with North Korea. They are completely cut off from the outside world in terms of diplomatic relations and their economy. I don’t see the United States launching a military strike against North Korea because of the hack of Sony. North Korea relies heavily on China for food and energy aid and to keep the dictatorship propped up but, realistically, China was unwilling to do much of anything when North Korea was engaged in nuclear brinkmanship–it’s very unlikely they are going to lift a finger to help Sony or the United States punish North Korea now. We could annoy them with joint military exercises with South Korea and by selling some flashy weapons to South Korea but the problem is that South Korea has more to lose in a situation like that than North Korea–the North has thousands of missiles pointed at South Korea with the express purpose of destroying the entire country if they feel threatened by South Korea or the US. We would retaliate by bombing the hell out of North Korea but the country is filled with lots of hungry people and lots of weapons and pretty much nothing else–who is to say the North Korean leader isn’t crazy enough to want to go out with a bang as long he gets to take a lot of his enemies with him?

    • Vete Alachingada says:

      The US Military has a unit of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard that has the capability to hijack broadcast signals and replace it with their own programming. It’s employed as part of their “electronic warfare” mission. They need to get a copy of the damn movie and broadcast it right into Pyongyang.

  10. Alma says:

    It is not NK doing this (think: Russia), but since the WH has now decided to point the finger squarely on NK, if NK wanted to get itself out of poverty, it could make it’s own movie about blowing up Obama and make enough money that every one of its citizens could bask in wealth for a century. They wouldn’t be able to make the dvds fast enough. Everyone across the globe would be clamoring for a copy. NK, Russia, the UK, Australia, the entire Middle East (including Israel), France… After all, he has p*ss ’em ALL off and that’s a lot of people!

    • jhs39 says:

      Your analysis is so idiotic I’m scared for anyone who actually has to come into contact with you. Barack Obama is a lot more popular outside of the United States than he is here–the only people who would pay to see a movie of Barack Obama getting blown up are Tea Party crazies like you–maybe you would find a lynching of Barack Obama even more entertaining? If you aren’t on meds and aren’t pretending to be stupid then you really have serious problems–hopefully you have health insurance so you can get some help.

    • Alma says:

      The only people who would care about a movie of Un getting killed are people with too much time on their hands or who have a really sick sense of humor. Like liberals.

      • Alma: logically what does Russia care about this movie? Your have a delusional point of view that borders on fantasy…..maybe you should try writing screenplays with your imagination(;-)))

  11. cadavra says:

    I hope these aren’t the same folks who swore there were WMDs in Iraq…

  12. Alma says:

    Hahaha. Like we believe anything this government says? But, it plays well to the meme of this WH, doesn’t it? Cow and bow, blame and point fingers, and lie. Above all else, lie. No, these hackers are RUSSIAN. Hahaha. A Russian trick on the Banana Republic. They are busting a gut.

  13. Jake E says:

    Should have said: FILED UNDER: cowardice. My suggestion… Carpet Bomb NK with DVDs of the movie.

  14. Bill says:

    All North Korea have to do now is threaten violence at any showing of any Sony feature and congratulations, they’ve shut down the entire studio. Heck why not threaten violence at any movie and destroy the entire industry now that they know both studios and theater chains will back down at the slightest provocation?

    You don’t honestly think the hackers will stop at just derailing this single feature, do you?

  15. Chelsea says:

    WOW !!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Bill says:

    I wonder how many other releases from Sony can be derailed by anonymous threats of violence at showings?

  17. Phillip Hill says:

    Hey! I’ve got an idea! Why don’t we make a really funny, satirical film that touches on the douchiness of Dear Leader and open it wide in theaters across the US! His impotent, foot stomping tantrum will be awesome. Oh…wait…

  18. harry georgatos says:

    Nuke ’em and save a few nukes for China!

  19. Get yo life says:

    I’m not suprised. I knew North Korea was involved in some kind of way.Sony should feel really stupid, how humiliating! I hope NK gets what’s coming to them. Now that their involvement has been confirmed. Sony needs to get some balls and release the movie anyway!

  20. JOE S HILL says:

    “Can’t trust Asians of any slant”,,,really? you’re in the wrong century,here! so what’s the answer here,Mister Racist asshole,,”kill em’ all,,let God sort them out!” your racial bigotry isn’t the answer
    my friend, nor is attacking a racial group,because of an offended North Korean dictator,who could now
    now start World War III,because of a movie studio,that should’ve known better! grow some brains pal,,it isn’t too late!!

  21. Shinny says:

    Ha Samsung users, can’t trust Asians of any slant and all you buffoon liberals really showed the North Koreans who you really are – cowards, lmao!

    • Yet another idiot who makes racist remarks behind the anonymity of his screen name. Who are you Shinny? Say your name if you are such a big bad right wing racist! We know you are a coward? Go sign up for the KKK you moron!

  22. Feeling stupid now Sony Pictures and all of you exhibitors? N. Korea couldn’t stage a real terrorist attack on the USA any more than get one of their half assed missiles across the Pacific. All The Exhibitors and Sony Pictures showed us their true cowardly instincts when they let this group of hacker monkeys bluff them out of hundreds of millions of dollars. Shame on the Exhibition Industry and Sony Pictures!

    • You anonymous morons keep lining up with your big bad threats. I publish my name and I say what I mean because we live in a free society. I am easy to find if you want to find me. Who are you? What’s your name? Who is the real pussy here asshole? The KKK and the right wing militias are real and very dangerous to our freedom loving open society. ISIS will never make it here and I am not afraid of them either. Its cowards like you who spew hatred and racism from behind your made up screen names who are phont bad asses. Real bad asses don’t hide behind bullshit screen names, they take full credit for their hatred.

  23. MarinDem says:

    Once again the ALPHABET AGENCIES FBI, CIA, NSA got caught with their pants down. It’s not like there haven’t been MOVIES warning abut cyber attacks!

  24. sr says:

    We cry foul when a country attacks the industry for producing a film about assassinating a country’s leader. I can only imagine what the response would be from this administration if a film about assassinating obama was ever released. I’m surprised no one has done one. After all, he is fair game in the arena of ‘art’. This film, as funny as it might have seemed at the beginning, turned out to be a bust and political nightmare for the Hollywood establishment. Interesting that we don’t hear anything from our own “two-cents” obama. Instead, he has sold out to the American people with his new announcement regarding Cuba. It makes me wonder what he is planning by hiding behind this announcement. Maybe a film about killing obama would be an interesting premise. I for one would love to see just how this government would respond. Maybe the same way they did with the video that allegedly resulted in the murder of 4 Americans (a complete and utter lie) with no consequences whatsoever.

    • Dp says:

      SR-clearly you’re not in the movie business. As the average movie takes 5-7 years to get made, targeting a specific President who would be out of office before the film is released makes about as much sense as eating soup with a fork. There have been, however, innumerable films about assassinating the President of the United States.

      • Thanks DP! This idiot probably works for the N. Koreans! His comments certainly do not sound like a US Citizen who appreciates the freedoms we sometimes take for granted…

    • ATT SR: Why is it that all of you anonymous posters are so brave about your comments. Who are you anyhow? Why don’t you post your full name and stand behind your cowardly comments? N. Korea is a joke on the world stage run by a joke of a dictator whose daddy gave him the country to run. How can you equivocate a comedy about assassinating an ass clown dictator to making a movie about assassinating our President? You are just another idiot who hides behind anonymity!

  25. michael Anthony says:

    I’m sorry, but, this requires something back. We can first let China know our extreme displeasure. China controls NK and knows it needs us now with its huge economy. And then retaliate. It’s time those nasty dictators are taken down. This is no different than pointing a loaded missle at us. Do nothing and they’ll do it again.

  26. dandrews1138 says:

    Well DUH! Did anyone doubt it? Kind of funny they call themselves “guardians of peace” and they’re threatening to kill people. What a joke!

  27. Aaron Kelley says:

    Anonymous wants to get back at the hackers too for messing with their games. I can only imagine they were helpful.

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