North Korea linked to Sony cyberattack – FBI steps in

2 Dec 2014

Following a breach in Sony’s cybersecurity that saw personal information of Hollywood A-listers as well as major films leaked onto the web last week, US officials are stepping in.

In what may be a first ever destructive cyber attack on a company on US soil, Sony employees were greeted with a picture of skull on their computer screens last week, as a group called The Guardians of Peace released a list of files that they had accessed.

Following Sony’s making of a movie called The Interview during the summer, which has a plot relating to the assassination of Kim Jong-un, North Korea called for it to be shelved, and promised a “merciless counter measures” for this “act of war” back in June.

In waves of attack, numerous Hollywood movies such as Fury (downloaded by almost 1 million unique IP addresses) Annie, Mr Turner, Still Alice and To Write Love on her Arms were all leaked online, with a bitter North Korea linked to the attack.

Now Sony are investigating these developments, NBC are focusing on the goings on and, if the FBI is getting involved – in what is circling dangerously close to a plot line in Team America: World Police ­– you would have to assume that there will be further reports in the coming days.

“I believe the coordinated cyberattack with destructive payloads against a corporation in the US represents a watershed event,” said Tom Kellermann, chief cybersecurity officer with security software maker Trend Micro, in a Reuters report on the FBI’s involvement. “Geopolitics now serve as harbingers for destructive cyberattacks.”

The five-page, confidential “flash” FBI warning issued to businesses late on Monday provided some technical details about the malicious software used in the attack. It provided advice on how to respond to the malware and asked businesses to contact the FBI if they identified similar malware.

The report said the malware overrides all data on hard drives of computers, including the master boot record, which prevents them from booting up.

North Korea image, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic