US slaps sanctions on N Korea over Sony hacking

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Jan 03, 2015 20:47 IST

The United States on Friday slapped additional sanctions on North Korean government, this time for its alleged links to the hacking of Sony pictures’ networks.

New sanctions target North Korean government entities and individuals charged with defense research and procurement of military suppies for the country.

The White House said this was the “first aspect of our response” — President Barack Obama’s “proportional response” — to the hacking and subsequent 9/11 style attacks.

It is not taking responsibility, therefore, for recent network outages in North Korea. Some believe Pyongyang may have done that itself as a preventive ploy.

“We take seriously North Korea’s attack that aimed to create destructive financial effects on a US company and to threaten artists and other individuals with the goal of restricting their right to free expression,” said the White House in a statement.

Though the US administration remains convinced of North Korea’s culpability in the hacking based on tell-tale cyber fingerprints, some security experts have questioned it.

One cyber security firm has held a Sony executive fired earlier in 2014 mainly responsible — without naming her — along with a handful of other individuals.

Hackers calling themselves Guardians of Peace hacked into Sony’s networks and began by releasing embarrassing internal email exchanges of its top executives.

They then threatened 9/11 style attacks if the entertainment giant released of The Interview, a comedy around a fictional attempt to assassinate Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

Sony capitulated at first and cancelled the release. But changes its mind after a very public scolding by President Obama who called it a mistake to give in to such threats.

The movie was subsequently released, on schedule on Christmas day in select theaters and on YouTube and Google Play and other online platforms.
A rather pedestrian movie is now a runway hit, thanks to Kim.

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