Wednesday, December 10, 2014
FBI official: 'No attribution' to N. Korea in Sony hack probe
I will have to leave it to the cyber experts but it seems like we are trying hard to make this not attributable to north Korea. Seems like north Korea is the state with the capability and intent to execute such an attack. Are we more worried about the north's response to such accusations? Are we worried that too much pressure is being put on the Kim Family Regime as the Commission of Inquiry's Human Rights report goes to the UN Security Council? Given the north Korean threats of late the north, if the north did execute this cyber attack and we have evidence of it and decide to downplay it or refute the allegations against it, the regime will likely interpret our action as justifying their threats and blackmail diplomacy. All they have to do is make threats of nuclear and missile tests and the US will back down to try to prevent a provocation. We may be reinforcing bad behavior. Could a policy decision be trumping reality and common sense? And to speculate even further is the Administration really thinking about re-engaging with the 6 party talks; e.g., if there is a violent provocation it would force a further delay in US engagement (yet this cyber attack should be seen as a severe provocation that in this instance cost some treasure to a corporation, what if the next cyber attack targets infrastructure and causes casualties? Yes , I am probably exaggerating and can be called chicken little and the boy who cried wolf. But if north Korea did this and we are deliberately trying to not attribute this to the north we may as well be paying ransom to kidnappers because the regime will not stop with this one when they assess they can get away with more.
An entrance gate to Sony Pictures Entertainment at the Sony Pictures lot is pictured in Culver City, Calif., in this April 14, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Fred Prouser/Files
WASHINGTON - A senior FBI official said on Tuesday that the agency has not confirmed widely held suspicions that North Korea is behind the unprecedented cyber attack on Sony's Hollywood studio.
"There is no attribution to North Korea at this point," Joe Demarest, assistant director with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's cyber division, said while speaking on a panel at a cybersecurity conference sponsored by Bloomberg Government.
The comment casts at least some doubt on the widely held belief that North Korea has definitely been determined to be the culprit in the massive attack on the Hollywood studio, leaving room for other theories to emerge.
Cybersecurity researchers who have analyzed the malicious software used in the attack say that technical indicators suggest North Korean hackers launched the attack. People close to separate investigations being conducted by Sony and the government have told Reuters that North Korea is a principal suspect, yet a North Korean diplomat has denied that his nation is involved.
Demarest also said that there has been no confirmation of government involvement to date, though he did not elaborate.
FBI spokesman Joshua Campbell said the agency is continuing its search for the attackers but had no additional information.
Demarest's brief comments were the first public remarks by a senior FBI official about its investigation into the unprecedented attack on U.S. soil. Hackers stole vast quantities of data, then used malicious software to wipe data on computers, shutting down much of the Sony Corp unit's network for more than a week.
FBI representatives plan to meet with Sony employees on Wednesday to provide them training in cybersecurity practices, Campbell said.
"As part of our commitment to helping private industry protect against the threat posed by malicious cyber criminals, the FBI routinely provides briefings on cyber security awareness," he said.
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