North Korea a suspect in cyberattack on Sony

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North Korea a suspect in cyberattack on Sony

North Korea is a principal suspect in the cyberattack on Sony Pictures, a U.S. national security source told Reuters on Thursday, while a North Korean diplomat denied that Pyongyang was behind the crippling hack.

The U.S. government’s investigation into the Nov. 24 attack is being led by the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office and the Hollywood studio is cooperating, a law enforcement source said.

The national security official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said North Korea is not the only suspect and that it was too soon to definitively know the source. The attack exposed a trove of internal data, including salaries and Social Security numbers, and shut down the computer systems at the entertainment arm of Sony.

North Korea had vehemently denounced the Sony film “The Interview,” a comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, scheduled for release on Dec. 25.

A former top U.S. government expert on North Korea said that circumstantial evidence suggesting its involvement in the Sony attack included the fact that the North Koreans had been “very vocal about their unhappiness” about the film.

A New York-based North Korean diplomat, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Voice of America broadcast network on Wednesday that linking North Korea to the hacking of Sony Pictures’ computers was “another fabrication targeting the country.”

“My country publicly declared that it would follow international norms banning hacking and piracy,” the diplomat said.

Cybersecurity researchers at security software maker Kaspersky Lab have uncovered what they say is technical evidence linking the massive breach at Sony with attacks in the Middle East and South Korea.

Last year, more than 30,000 PCs at South Korean banks and broadcasting companies were hit by an attack that researchers widely believe was launched from North Korea.

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