The United States believes North Korea is behind the hacking at Sony and the threat of 9/11-type attacks that forced the company to cancel the release of a movie lampooning Kim Jong-un.
The White House said every effort was being made to punish perpetrators of the attack and “a range of options in weighing a potential response” were under consideration.
US was expected to publicly accuse North Korea by name, but didn’t in the absence of clear follow-up responses, which could include a massive retaliatory cyberattack.
North Korea was identified instead in background briefings to select media outlets — “centrally behind” the hacking, US officials said according to The New York Times.
Sony pictures cancelled the worldwide release of the film, The Interview, after cinema chains around the US decided to not screen it in view of the threat of 9/11-style attacks.
A group calling itself Guardians of Peace hacked into Sony’s database recently moping up emails, movies, personal details of its personnel and has released stolen data in stages.
It’s latest was a threat of 9/11 style attacks on cinemas running The Interview, a comedy about a plot to assassinate the North Korean dictator, leaving little doubt about who's is behind it.
“Remember the 11th of September 2001,” the hackers said in a message posted to Sony. “We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.”
FBI is investigating the hacking, which has been tracked to servers all around the world, specially in Singapore, Thailand and Bolivia, and bear similarity to previous attacks.
It is not certain yet if North Korea carried out the attack on its own — it has the capability, apparently, or outsourced it as it has in the past, some of which were traced to China.