Sony cyber-attack: North Korea faces new US sanctions

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Sony cyber-attack: North Korea faces new US sanctions



The US has imposed new sanctions on North Korea in response to a cyber-attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment.


President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Friday allowing sanctions on three North Korean organisations and 10 individuals.

The White House said the move was a response to North Korea's "provocative, destabilising, and repressive actions".

US sanctions are already in place over North Korea's nuclear programme.

But Friday's actions are believed to be the first time the US has moved to punish any country for cyber-attacks on a US company.

Among those named in the sanctions were:

  • The Reconnaissance General Bureau, North Korea's primary intelligence organisation.
  • North Korea's primary arms dealer, the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (Komid).
  • Korea Tangun Trading Corporation, which supports North Korea's defence research.
  • Jang Song Chol: Named by the US Treasury as a Komid representative in Russia and a government official.
  • Kim Yong Chol: An official of the North Korean government, according to the US, and a Komid representative in Iran.
  • Ryu Jin and Kang Ryong: Komid officials and members of the North Korean government who are operating in Syria, according to the US.
White House officials told reporters the move was in response to the Sony hack, but the targets of the sanctions were not directly involved.


President Obama: "I don't think it was an act of war, I think it was an act of cyber-vandalism"

Instead, the sanctions are designed to further isolate North Korea's defence industry as deterrent for future cyber-attacks.

The FBI has previously said it believed North Korea was behind the cyber-attack and Friday's sanctions show the US is not backing off its assertion that the country is responsible, despite North Korea denying involvement in the hack, and lingering questions from some cyber-security experts.

A senior White House official said it was extremely rare for the US to attribute cyber-attacks, and it was only done so because of the destructive nature of the attack, and because the White House saw it as "crossing a threshold".

Sony was embarrassed after a group calling itself Guardians of Peace leaked data from its computers, exposing emails and personal details.

The group later threatened cinema chains planning to screen Sony's satirical North Korea comedy, The Interview. Oblique references to the 9/11 terror attacks prompted the cancellation of the film's nationwide release.

The Interview was later distributed online
"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," the White House said in a statement.

"Today's actions are the first aspect of our response."

North Korea has blamed the US for lengthy internet outages in the country last week.

Officials would not say whether the statement that sanctions were the "first aspect" of US rebuttal was a denial of responsibility for the recent North Korean internet outages, but suggested Pyongyang could have orchestrated the outages.
 
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I'm not sure if they have even proven that it's really NK who is behind the attack because it could still be anyone. However, I'm not in favor of NK at all. And whoever did the hacking did a really good job in being anonymous.
 
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I don't know if it really was North Korea that did the hack on Sony, it could just have easily been South Korean hackers. South Korea has one of the highest concentrations of heavy internet users in the world.
 
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There is no proof that North Korea was responsible for the hacks, it could be a group of sympathizers or a group that just decided to pick on this film. Sanctions rarely do much except to show a country that they are not happy with how they are doing things. Many of these businesses have loopholes to get around things, knowing there maybe sanctions. It's really an ego move for a country to say 'We are going to do this,' where most of the citizens don't really care, they have no say or freedom anyway.
 
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One of the reasons that people are suspecting North Korea is that there was the movie about North Korea, and the code showed signs of being written in a way consistent with the way that Korean code is written.

That by itself isn't conclusive evidence, and it could just as easily have been a private group as a public one if you ask me.

I think that the little feud between the USA and North Korea over the hacking and internet access is kind of a trumped up conflict.
 

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