According to the latest reports, a North Korean diplomat based in New York has moved to deny allegations that his country was responsible for a cyber-attack on Sony Pictures.
Huge amounts of information were lost from the company’s systems following the security breach last month. Despite a lack of official announcements from Sony Corp (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) (TYO:6758), independent security researchers had speculated that the attack originated in the secretive Far East nation.
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Sony Pictures’ claim and counter-claim
Sony hired security specialists FireEye Inc (NASDAQ:FEYE) to get to the bottom of the attack, but neither party has made any claims as to who was responsible. The attack left Sony networks unusable, with staff told to switch off their devices while the company scrambled to work out what was going on.
Independent researchers have since detailed similarities between the code used in the Sony attack and an attack on South Korean banks and TV networks last year. Following that security breach, named Dark Seoul, the South Korean government pinned the blame on its northern neighbor, although the source of the attack was never confirmed.
Technology news site Recode published an article on Wednesday which claimed that Sony Pictures and FireEye were going to announce that the attack came from North Korea, but both companies have denied these claims.
Furthermore Voice of America has quoted the as yet unnamed diplomat as stating that any attempt to blame North Korea was a “fabrication,” and reiterated his nation’s commitment to “banning hacking and piracy.”
Even the FBI has been involved, warning companies to be aware of the threat of destructive malware discovered after the attack.
Motivated by Hollywood
Analysts have speculated that North Korea was angered by the impending release of a Sony film called “The Interview.” Two journalists, played by Seth Rogen and James Franco, are granted an audience with Kim Jong-un, before being enlisted by the CIA in a plot to kill him.
North Korea called the film “the most undisguised sponsoring of terrorism as well as a war action,” and UN envoy Ja Song-Nam promised a “merciless response” should the film be released as planned.
The attack led to the leak of at least 5 upcoming Sony releases as well as the confidential information of over 6,000 company employees.