North Korea behind Sony hack-attack FBI announced

UPDATE – The US has officially blamed the North Korean government for the massive cyber-attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment.

“The FBI has determined that the intrusion into SPE's network consisted of the deployment of destructive malware and the theft of proprietary information as well as employees' personally identifiable information and confidential communications,” according to the formal statement that was issued on Friday.

“As a result of our investigation, and in close collaboration with other US departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions.”

Companies across the world have been sent scrambling to stiffen their security measures to prevent a repeat scenario of the Sony cyber-attack, security experts said.

Although stealing customer information was part of the offensive against Sony Pictures Entertainment, the attack’s ramifications reached a different level through terrorist threats and the major corporate damage that was caused. Cyber-warfare is what business now might be targeted for, according to experts.

"I fully expect to see more actions like this against film studios or other soft targets because they have not paid attention to cyber security for so long," said Jeffery Carr, chief executive officer of Taia Global, a cyber-security company.

"This has been the first time that extortion on this scale has been successful."

Warner Bros executives have allegedly sent a five-point security checklist to employees to clean out any unnecessary data and ordered a company-wide password reset.

In the aftermath of the incident, US investigations indicated that that the attack might have been “state sponsored” by North Korea, and hinted at a formal announcement regarding the involvement of the Pyongyang government.

According to Rob Sadowski of cybersecurity firm RSA, any organisation going into political territory should map out a strategy.

"Geography no longer protects them and they need to be proactive and not reactive," he said.

It is believed that the massive cyber-attack against Sony was in retaliation to the new film ‘The Interview’, in which the main characters are to assassinate the communist state’s leader Kim Jong-Un. Setting up a precedent, the technology and entertainment giant dropped the $44m film, which was planned for release on 25 December, earlier this week.  

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