Russia May Be Responsible For Sony Hack

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Russia May Be Responsible For Sony Hack
YS-Park / Pixabay

Although U.S. officials initially blamed North Korea for the hack on Sony’s computers, a new report suggests it may actually have been Russian hackers who carried out the cyber-attack. Several private security researchers are now questioning President Obama’s accusation of North Korea.

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Questions about Sony hack

The New York Times reports that the researchers are skeptical because of the way the government based its findings in the investigation into the Sony hack. U.S. officials promised a “proportional response” only hours before North Korea’s internet access disappeared. Some security researchers are now comparing the Obama administration’s claims about the Sony hack to the claims made by the Bush administration before the Iraq war.

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The researchers said the government based its findings on evidence that it won’t release. Officials said they must “protect sensitive sources and methods.” Although U.S. officials have never actually said they’re doing so, The New York Times reports that the National Security Agency is trying to infiltrate North Korea’s computer networks.

Where did the Sony cyber-attack originate from?

It is extremely difficult to figure out where a cyber-attack is coming from, so U.S. officials have been hesitant to blame anyone except in rare situations. As a result, it’s suggested that there may be some kind of classified information regarding the Sony hack that’s “more conclusive” than the information the FBI has made public so far.

Security researchers want to see more proof though because they don’t feel comfortable just taking the government at its word. They’ve been sifting through the evidence in an effort to prove whether the finger really can be pointed at North Korea.

Clues about the Sony hack

Those who are skeptical about the government’s claims note that the computers used in the Sony hack are located all over the world. One of the computers located in Bolivia was used by the same group of hackers to infiltrate computers in South Korea, but anyone could use that computer because it was publicly available.

Additionally, the hackers who attacked Sony built their malware on computers that were apparently configured with settings in the Korean language. However, researchers say the hackers could have changed those settings to hide their identity.

Another clue they noted was that the hackers seem to have a strong understanding of Sony’s computer network because the names of the company’s servers and passwords were coded into the malware. The Daily Beast suggested that it could have been an inside job or conducted by a disgruntled former employee, and The New York Times report suggests this is possible as well.

Was it Russia?

The report also talks about yet another theory, which comes from cyber-security consulting firm Taia Global. The firm conducted computational linguistics and said based on the phrasing and translation errors in the online messages sent by the hackers, they could actually be native Russian speakers rather than Korean speakers.

Researchers from the firm now say Russia was a more likely culprit than North Korea. Others noted that the hackers only started saying the infiltration was in retaliation for Sony Pictures’ film The Interview, which is about North Korea’s leader, after the media floated the suggestion. This could suggest that the hackers saw an opportunity to further hide their identity and took it.

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Michelle Jones is editor-in-chief for ValueWalk.com and has been with the site since 2012. Previously, she was a television news producer for eight years. She produced the morning news programs for the NBC affiliates in Evansville, Indiana and Huntsville, Alabama and spent a short time at the CBS affiliate in Huntsville. She has experience as a writer and public relations expert for a wide variety of businesses. Email her at Mjones@wordpress-785388-2679526.cloudwaysapps.com.
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24 COMMENTS

  1. no problem … I didn’t really do any research on it I was just kind of throwing it out there as an idea …. [thinking out loud if you will] I think Russia was more then likely just trying to align itself a little more with N.K both for diplomatic/trade reasons and then … there’s the whole the enemy of my enemy is my ally thing. I agree though china is the better ally of the two….. this is just an idea but if I were china and Russia they are probably more likely to want a leadership in N.K that is’nt quite so rogue … IE …. a more suitable partner …

  2. Thank you, but both are 404s (not found), FYI.

    PS – but using the title, I looked up and found the story. I think this is more Russia being diplomatic and being aligned with North Korea for China’s sake. But it may mean more, I well grant. I suspect that if China doesn’t want this to go further, Russia will stay out of it unless Russia is willing to actually try to divide North Korea from China, and I don’t expect that given the swing of Russia to more actively court China.

    PPS – thanks again!

  3. Where do you get that Russia is actively courting North Korea? I would be interested to hear.

    Russia’s policy has recently shifted to buddying up with China, so it would seem less likely to me they would mess with China in this way, in essence usurping China’s role as North Korea’s closest ally and supporter, particularly as well given rumors have it that China is upset that this occurred as they would prefer North Korea out of the limelight in such a manner, for now anyway.

  4. The belief by many experts is that supposedly the hackers – whoever they are – did not get access to The Interview. Some experts believe this goes further to proving it was not North Korean agents performing this, as some experts find it unthinkable that NK could pull off the hack but not find the specific film triggering it.

    I don’t claim to know, just passing on what I’ve read on this particular point.

  5. The US has said the Russians have no technologies to build their own satellites…for what and when? Please provide some context. In any case these are very different technologies, hacking versus various satellite technologies, it would be no surprise if capabilities were fairly different. As Putin has highlighted, the Russian military is in need of modernization, so even by the Russians’ own narrative, there is improvement to be had (granted, Putin’s comments here are also self-interested as any leader in expressing urgency to build a military, but independent analysts have noted that post-Soviet Russia has lost significant military capability).

    I entirely grant that the US government may be knowingly falsely accusing North Korea and may have no idea hwo the hackers are. However, I’m not sure how you come to such a conclusion as i f it were fact?

  6. Or maybe it was SONY who hacked their own systems and made it look like yet another hack against the company providing a two fold benefit to them. 1) Publicity and aggressive online marketing campaign for test of online release to movies (which failed miserably in terms of profits but the marketing was very successful) and 2) to bring to light the dangers of malicious cyber terrorism in hopes the government would crack down on criminals doing suck things.

    Who really knows what happened I don’t think we will ever find out.

  7. Strange US position… they said the Russians has no technologies to build own satellit, and now the Russians the best hackers over the world. They even don’t know who are the hackers, the highest level of programming in telecommunication technologies, full understanding of IT systems works, etc. They just think that hackers are terrorists and can blame anyone who has calculator in hands…

  8. yea sure blame russians, makes sense why not……well i say it was the martions, cause they are tired of use roving around on their red planet….cmon anyone else you would like to blame?

  9. People who claim that the hackers didn’t bring up The Interview until it was suggested in the press are ignoring the fact that 5 Sony movies were uploaded onto bit-torrent sites including Annie weeks before it was released–what was the one movie that wasn’t uploaded to the pirate sites?

  10. … russia does something they know our incompetent president will blame N.K for …. and then russia tells N.K come align with us against thoughs horrible americans …… and they go running! … hmmm ? … its plausible !

  11. Lair! Obama said it was North Korea! Obama even threatened them as well. Guess he will need another beer summit to say he over reacted with no evidence and spoke a lie.

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