There will be 'proportionate response': Obama on hacking

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Dec 20, 2014 01:15 IST

US president Barack Obama on Friday said there will be a “proportionate response” the hacking of Sony pictures by the North Korean government. But he refused to describe or define it.

The US will respond “at a time and place of our choosing”, Obama said addressing a year-end news conference shortly after the FBI linked the hacking to the North Korean government.

The president also said it was a mistake for Sony to cancel the release of the film, The Interview, a satirical film on North Korean doctor Kim Jong-un, the root of the hacking.

Linking the hacking to Pyongyang, the FBI said “lines of code, encryption algorithms, data deletion methods and compromised networks” and “infrastructure” used in this attack were similar to previous hackings traced to North Korea.

US department of homeland security said in a statement called the hacking was not only an attack on a company and its employees. It was also an attack on “our freedom of expression and way of life”.

A group of hackers calling itself Guardians of Peace has claimed responsibility for the hacking, and threatened 9/11 style attacks on cinemas screening the film, which forced Sony to cancel its release.

About its investigation, the FBI said, “Technical analysis of the data deletion malware used in this attack revealed links to other malware that the FBI knows North Korean actors previously developed. For example, there were similarities in specific lines of code, encryption algorithms, data deletion methods, and compromised networks.”

And there was significant “overlap” between the infrastructure used in this attack and previous “malicious cyber activity” traced to North Korea”. The FBI found that several Internet protocol addresses associated with known North Korean infrastructure “communicated with IP addresses that were hardcoded into the data deletion malware used in this attack”

And, lastly, the tool used in the Sony hacking were similar to a cyber attack in March 2013 against South Korean banks and media companies.

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