As the New York Times reports, the Obama administration doubled down on its recent allegation that the Democratic Peoples Republic of North Korea (DPRK) was behind the hacking of Sony Pictures, announcing sanctions on 10 senior North Korean officials and several organizations in response to the incident. Paradoxically, the administration acknowledged that there is no evidence that the 10 officials took part in either ordering or planning the Sony attack. Instead, they described them as “central to a number of provocative actions against the United States,” the Times reported. Those ‘provocative actions’ were not described. The actions mirror the Administration’s controversial decision, in May, to charge five Chinese military officers in May, 2014, for their connection to computer hacking and cyber espionage campaigns directed at U.S. firms in the nuclear power, metals and solar products industries. In the case of the Chinese nationals, however, the FBI cited evidence linking the five military officers to […]
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A strong counter-narrative to the official account of the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment has emerged in recent days, with the visage of the petulant North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, replaced by another, more familiar face: former Sony Pictures employees angry over their firing during a recent reorganization at the company. Researchers from the security firm Norse allege that their investigation of the hack of Sony has uncovered evidence that leads, decisively, away from North Korea as the source of the attack. Instead, the company alleges that a group of six individuals is behind the hack, at least one a former Sony Pictures Entertainment employee who worked in a technical role and had extensive knowledge of the company’s network and operations. [Read Security Ledger coverage of the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment.] If true, the allegations by Norse deal a serious blow to the government’s account of the incident, which placed the blame squarely on […]
The hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which first came to light on November 24th, devolved this week into a chaotic international “whodunnit” with conflicting reports attributing the incident to everything from the government of North Korea to the government of China to global hacktivist group Anonymous to disgruntled Sony employees. For sure: those attributing the attack to hacking crews within the military of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) had their argument bolstered by reports in the New York Times and elsewhere claiming that the U.S. government now believes that the DPRK, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, was responsible for the devastating hack. Officials at Sony Pictures Entertainment clearly believe the connection is credible, ordering the cancellation of the release of the Sony Pictures film The Interview following threats of violence on theaters showing the film. That acceded to a key demand of the hackers, who have used the […]
There’s a fascinating article on TechCrunch that cites a current (anonymous) Sony Pictures Entertainment employee talking about life at the company in the wake of a crippling November 24th cyber attack that wiped out thousands of computer systems and stole terabytes of data from the company. According to the story, Sony employees have resorted to using circa 1990s fax machines to transmit documents and – horror – having face to face communications in lieu of texting, e-mail or social networking, all of which are disabled within Sony’s environment. [Read more Security Ledger coverage of the Sony Pictures hack here.] “We had barely working email and no voicemail so people talked to each other,” the source tells TechCrunch. “Some people had to send faxes. They were dragging old printers out of storage to cut checks…It was crazy.” “That is what a major corporate security breach sounds like,” TechCrunch writes. “The squeal […]
Mark Anderson over at IEEE Spectrum has a nice article today on “How Not To Be Sony Pictures.” His argument: corporations can no longer afford to be cavalier about cyber security. Accordingly: they need to do much more than simply spot threats. “Any organization that thinks cybersecurity is as simple as installing and regularly updating their anti-virus software risks similar nightmare scenarios as what Sony Pictures now stares down.” – Mark Anderson, IEEE Spectrum. Anderson notes this blog post, by Fengmin Gong, the chief strategy officer and co-founder of Cyphort Security. Gong argues that the sheer scale and complexity of connected devices requires a new attitude towards protecting critical data and assets. “The new approach today that people have shifts away from prevention — which everyone knows is not achievable — to a focus on attack sequence and consequence,” Gong writes. What does that mean? Gong and Anderson are […]