U.S. Investigators Believe North Korea May Have Contracted Out Parts Of Sony Hack
According to a new report out by Reuters News Service, “U.S. investigators believe North Korea likely hired hackers from outside the country to help with last month’s massive hack attack on Sony Entertainment,” according to an official close to the investigation.” Reuters added that investigators reached this conclusion because it is judged that Pyongyang likely “lacks the ability” to carry out the kind of cyber operation that was initiated against Sony Pictures. “U.S. investigators are looking into the possibility that North Korea “contracted out,” some of aspects of the Sony hack,” according to an official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.
Nonetheless, Reuters added that U.S. investigators believe that North Korea was “the prime author,” of the Sony hack. Others have speculated that North Korea may have had assistance from someone inside the company; while other cyber security firms such as Taia Global said the results of their linguistic analysis of communications from the suspected hackers suggest that the hackers may well have had a Russian origin.
“I think the U.S. government acted prematurely in announcing unequivocally that it was the culprit of the Sony hack — before the investigation was complete,” said Mark Rasch, a former Federal Cyber Crimes Prosecutor. “There are many theories about who did it; and, how they did it. The government has to be pursuing all of them.”
Kevin Mandia, whose security firm [FireEye] was hired by Sony to investigate the attack, said the only way to know who the true culprits are — is to trace network traffic from the infected machines…back to the hackers’ machines. Only the government and Internet service providers have that kind of insight,” he said. “Every attack loops through numerous machines,” he added. “You have to peel the onion all the way back. It isn’t an easy [or quick] thing to do.”
Certainly, with U.S. and international sanctions imposed against Russia — it would not be all that surprising if North Korea got some assistance from Russian hackers — be they independent “hired cyber guns,” or in Russian intelligence. North Korea’s Internet routers — all five of them — also go through China. Whether or not North Korea could initiative this kind of cyber hack from the Peninsula — I do not know. But, they may have also initiated the attack from major international hotels in Singapore, Thailand, and elsewhere. But, as I have written before — keep it simple stupid. North Korea had the means, the motive, and the desire to try and stop the release of the Sony Picture, The Interview. V/R, RCP