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Sony Cyber-Attack: North Korea Does Not Deny Involvement in Hack

A North Korean official declined to say whether the regime was behind the Internet attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment’s computer systems last week, which has resulted in five of the studio’s movies leaking to piracy sites and a trove of corporate data posted online.

The BBC reported that a spokesman for North Korea’s United Nations delegation, when asked about the SPE incident, said: “The hostile forces are relating everything to the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the official name of North Korea). I kindly advise you to just wait and see.”

Sony Pictures, in conjunction with the FBI, other law enforcement agencies and private security firms, is investigating the hack. Among other scenarios, the studio is looking into the possibility that hackers with ties to North Korea were responsible. That is presumed to be retaliation for the studio’s scheduled Dec. 25 release of “The Interview,” a geopolitical spoof starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, in which the duo are approached by the CIA about assassinating North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. An unofficial North Korean spokesman decried the film earlier this summer.

On Nov. 24, Sony Pictures employees logging on to the company’s network were greeted with an image of a skeleton and a message that said, “Hacked by #GOP,” with the group behind it calling itself “Guardians of Peace.”

The message threatened to release “secrets and top secrets” of the company. On Monday, individuals claiming to be responsible for the attack distributed a link to an extensive amount data allegedly stolen from Sony Pictures to media outlets, which included a spreadsheet purportedly listing salaries of top studio execs.

The hack also resulted in five Sony films — Brad Pitt-starrer “Fury” and unreleased movies “Annie,” “Mr. Turner,” “Still Alice” and “To Write Love on Her Arms” — being stolen and posted to piracy networks. “The Interview” apparently was not among those uploaded to pirate sites.

The cyber-attack on Sony Pictures’ systems employed tools “very similar” to those used last year in cyberattacks on South Korean TV stations and ATMs, which the South Korean government blamed on North Korea, the Wall Street Journal reported.

By Monday, Dec. 1, SPE had made progress recovering from the attack, with certain critical business systems back online and email service restored.

In a statement Monday, a studio rep said: “Sony Pictures continues to work through issues related to what was clearly a cyber attack last week. The company has restored a number of important services to ensure ongoing business continuity and is working closely with law enforcement officials to investigate the matter.”

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