An Inside Glimpse at Computing in North Korea

After eschewing Windows due to its American origins, North Korea has been using the Red Star operating system for over a decade. Not only is Red Star created by the North Korean state, it is the only OS that is permitted for use within the country, and only supports the native language. The most recent iteration of the software, Red Star 3, is a Linux distro designed to mimic Apple’s OS X, believed to be a favourite of the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

A former Google employee, Will Scott, managed to obtain a copy of Red Star 3 from a local KCC retailer during a visit to Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, giving us in the West our first glimpse at computing within North Korea.

Red Star 3’s start-up screen:

The installation process asks the user to select your city and time zone. Seoul, capital of South Korea, is conspicuously absent:

The log-in screen:

The resemblance of Red Star 3’s desktop to that of the Mac’s OS X is uncanny:

Red Star’s proprietary word processor:

And its e-mail client:

Documents can be accessed via the File Manager, again taking its cue from OS X’s Finder:

The browser is a modified Firefox, called “Maenara”:

The desktop can be modified, with a number of wallpapers included:

This one in particular, 다박솔초소의 설경, or “snow at the baksol outpost”, seems to say much about the North Korean state’s preoccupation with military might:

North Korea’s Internet Room Finally Gets an Internet Connection!

North Korea is renowned for many things, and few of them good. Such as the internet room at their airport which ironically had no internet, until now! As far as internet access is concerned, the citizens of North Korea only enjoy access to a special kind of intranet that mimics the real thing. As an exception, one of North Korea’s new airport terminals features an “internet room” that boasts access to the real world wide web. However, this room is most likely reserved to foreigners and to those who are legally allowed to leave the country, which means that the average North Korean still can’t enjoy access to things like Facebook and YouTube. An anonymous visitor to the new “internet room” had a few words to say about the overall experience:

“The North Korean guy (in charge of the room) was very friendly to us, he only asked for our passport. In the end, I gave mine. I suppose North Koreans who get permission to travel abroad would be ok to use it, but I am speculating.”

According to a technical advisor over at NK News, whoever chooses to use the room might be targeted by the local authorities for surveillance. In this case, is updating your Facebook page before visiting North Korea really worth it?

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information.

North Korea Tests Polaris-1 Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile

North Korea is flexing their military muscles again with more missile demonstrations. In the latest test, a Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) was fired successfully with Kim Jong Un in attendance. Despite only flying about 150m, the rocket launch does demonstrate the ability for North Korea to launch SLBMs properly. Called the Polaris-1, the missile is suggested to be capable of delivering a nuclear warhead. Currently, only the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France and India have SLBM capable submarines.

SLBMs are a greater danger than conventional ballistic missiles due to their flexibility from being mounted on a submarine. By using a submarine platform, the missile itself can be brought much closer to the target, robbing defense systems of critical reaction time. Conventional ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) take about 20 minutes to arrive on target while SLBM can take as little as 6 minutes, far too little time for air defenses to activate. This allows the launcher to strike first to cripple their opponent.

One potential launch platform for the Polaris 1 is a number of Golf II submarines the North Koreans purchased from Russia. While it’s theoretically possible for the Golf II to strike the United States, more likely targets are South Korea and Japan, with the launch coming in from a blind side to surprise defenders. This test will also likely impact South Korea’s decision whether or not to proceed with the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system or not. It’s not rocket science to tell that the situation between the Koreas is set to escalate even further as each side buys more rockets.

North Korea’s State Operating System Looks Like OS X

We’ve all been captivated recently by the massive hack upon Sony Pictures that was supposedly carried out by North Korea. However, not many of us know what using a computer is like in the ‘self-reliant’ hermit kingdom.

Well now we do. Ex-Google employee Will Scott previously visited one of the country’s top universities and bought a copy of the operating system they were using while he was there. He somehow managed to sneak that back to the states and provided screenshots for us all to see.

Now, obviously their OS isn’t going to be anything built by Microsoft, Apple or Google or any other Western company, so they’ve built their own. Well, sort of their own, because it bears a startling resemblance to Apple’s OS X.

From log in screen to the iconic dock and menu bar, it’s a complete rip-off of what appears to be OS X 10.5 Leopard. This image of file manager could easily be mistaken for an old version of Apple’s Finder.

Take a look at the browser – a modded Firefox perhaps?

You can see more of the OS at the source link.

Source: Business Insider Images: Will Scott

Defector to Send USB Copies of ‘The Interview’ into North Korea Via Balloons

A defector of North Korea has announced that he intends to send 100,000 USB drive and DVD copies of ‘The Interview’ into North Korea via balloons. With the support of the US Human Rights Foundation, the copies have been edited to include Korean subtitles.

In an interview to the Associated Press, Park Sang-hak said that the ballon drop would help the “idolization of leader Kim” break down.

“Park said foundation officials plan to visit South Korea around Jan. 20 to hand over the DVDs and USBs, and that he and the officials will then try to float the first batch of the balloons if weather conditions allow.

“North Korea’s absolute leadership will crumble if the idolization of leader Kim breaks down,” Park said by telephone.” 

Similar efforts have been carried out before by the same man and by other groups – dropping leaflets, posters, pictures and DVDs of other films. Copies of news programming have also been sent via balloons, often showing the toppling of other dictators like Muammar Gaddafi and videos of uprisings like those seen in Egypt.

Sony Pictures was the subject of “the biggest cyber attack in history” last month after it’s believed North Korean hackers had their revenge in response to ‘The Interview’ – a movie about the assassination of leader Kim Jong-Un.

Source: Associated Press

Was the Sony Hack an Inside Job?

Following the hack of Sony Pictures last month, there has been much debate over who was responsible; a hacker group called Guardians of Peace have claimed responsibility, and the FBI has suggested that North Korea was involved, but no concrete evidence that points to a particular perpetrator has been made publicly available. Computer security firm Norse think they know, and all signs point to an inside job, by a woman known as ‘Lena’.

Kurt Stammberger, Senior Vice President of Norse, said, “Are there NK fingerprints? Sure. But when we run any of those leads to ground, they end up being dead ends.” Stammberger and his team instead found evidence that a former Sony employee – made redundant during a ruthless clear-out at Sony during March of this year – known as “Lena” is likely the catalyst behind the attack.

“Lena” worked for Sony in Los Angeles for ten years in a “key technical” position, so she would know exactly how to exploit the company’s servers, and “where all the sensitive information in Sony was stored.” She worked with a group of people disgruntled with Sony, according to the Norse investigation, possibly under the banner of Guardians of Peace. Stammberger clarified, “These were individuals that were connected with torrenting Sony movies and content online, were targeted by legal and law enforcement arms, and were irritated that basically they were caught.”

Though Stammberger is confident he and his team are on the right track, he admits that they have nothing concrete, yet: “We have indicators that connect [these suspects] to this attack. It’s a long way from proof,” admitting it is “a long way from something I think you could prosecute someone with.”

Source: Gawker

The Interview is Sony’s Most Downloaded Movie – Making $15m

The Interview is doing alright online, raking back a third of its crazy $44 million budget. It’s also Sony’s most downloaded movie ever.

“Considering the incredibly challenging circumstances, we are extremely grateful to the people all over the country who came out to experience The Interview on the first day of its unconventional release,” – Rory Bruer, Sony’s President of Global Distribution in a statement to The Wrap following the movie’s opening.

Sony will certainly be interested in these figures. Analysts have suggested that the company could lose billions of dollars due to the hack – something an already struggling Sony doesn’t need. It’s questionable as to how much money the movie will make online and in such a limited number of cinemas.

This figure also poses something else – what will the non-theatrical release of this major motion picture mean for the future of cinema? We’ve seen movies released to DVD/Blu-Ray and downloads sooner and sooner following their theatrical release. We’ve also seen movie studios expressing interest in cutting out cinema releases altogether in an attempt to curb piracy. So does the modestly successful online release of The Interview further compound the beliefs of those who think we should say goodbye to cinema?

Source: BBC News

North Korea Threatens to Blow Up the White House

In a totally reasonable and not at all childish reaction to a comedy movie, North Korea has threatened to bomb the White House in retaliation for the release of the Seth Rogen film The Interview.

After the Sony Pictures hack last month, the group claiming responsibility threatened Sony not to release The Interview – a comedy about two journalists attempting to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – else they would release confidential information gathered from the hack, and even attack any cinema that dared screen the film.

After initial reticence, Sony did release the movie over Christmas, both online and to a limited cinema run, and North Korea is not happy. In a statement published by state-run Korean Central News Agency, North Korea’s Policy Department of the National Defence Commission said:

“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has already launched the toughest counteraction. Nothing is more serious miscalculation than guessing that just a single movie production company is the target of this counteraction. Our target is all the citadels of the U.S. imperialists who earned the bitterest grudge of all Koreans.

The army and people of the DPRK are fully ready to stand in confrontation with the U.S. in all war spaces including cyber warfare space to blow up those citadels.

Our toughest counteraction will be boldly taken against the White House, the Pentagon and the whole U.S. mainland, the cesspool of terrorism, by far surpassing the “symmetric counteraction” declared by Obama.

The U.S. should reflect on its evil doings that put itself in such a trouble, apologize to the Koreans and other people of the world and should not dare pull up others. “

So, unless the US government apologises for a movie it had no hand in producing, North Korea will blow up the White House, presumably with its nefarious moon-mounted space laser. Sounds fair.

Source: We Are Anonymous

iTunes to Offer The Interview Too

Just a few days after it was reported that Apple declined streaming ‘The Interview’, Apple has just confirmed that it will indeed be offering the movie.

According to Re/code, an Apple representative informed them that the movie will be available from 1pm EST for streaming and downloading. This means that the movie will be available on many of the big streaming platforms, including iTunes, Google Play and YouTube.

Sony said that they intended to deliver the movie on a “different platform” following their decision to pull it from its Christmas Day release. The company did say that no streaming or download service had initially come forward with an offer to provide the movie, but now that’s obviously a different story. The movie did also see its cinematic release, but only in  handful of venues.

Source: Re/code

The Interview Made $1 Million on its First Day

Sony has announced that ‘The Interview’ made $1 Million on its first day. The film was released on Christmas Eve online and in a handful of cinemas on Christmas Day.

“Considering the incredibly challenging circumstances, we are extremely grateful to the people all over the country who came out to experience The Interview on the first day of its unconventional release,” – Rory Bruer, Sony’s President of Global Distribution in a statement to The Wrap.

$1 million for a major motion picture isn’t all that much, especially for one that cost $44 million. Estimates for the movie originally said it would earn over $20 million, that’s for a standard release to all cinemas.

Sony will certainly be interested in these figures. Analysts have suggested that the company could lose billions of dollars due to the hack – something an already struggling Sony doesn’t need. It’s questionable as to how much money the movie will make online and in such a limited number of cinemas.

About those cinemas, why haven’t they decided to show the film now those “9/11 style terrorist attacks” never occurred? It was cowardly of them to do what they did in the first place, but where are they now?

Source: The Verge

“Monkey” Obama Behind Internet Outage, According to North Korea

North Korea has blamed the US of taking down its internet services over the Christmas period and, in a gesture of unbridled racism, branded President Barack Obama “a monkey”. The US is accused of retaliating for the Sony Picture hack, and attack attributed to North Korea, which stems from dissent regarding the movie The Interview, a comedy in which two journalists attempt to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

An unnamed spokesperson from the National Defense Commission, a governing body controlled by Kim Jong-un, released a statement to the official Korean Central News Agency on Saturday, with harsh words aimed at the US President: “Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest.”

The spokesperson continued: “the U.S., a big country, started disturbing the Internet operation of major media of the DPRK, not knowing shame like children playing a tag.”

The National Defense Commission even went so far as to accuse the US Government of producing The Interview as a reflection of its hostile attitude toward North Korea.

The White House is yet to respond to the statement.

Source: Mashable

Sony Hack Highlights Cyber Security Concerns

The devastating hack on Sony Pictures has meant at least one good thing – greater awareness of cyber security. A number of businesses, governments and indeed individuals have started to wonder whether they’re susceptible to hacking.

The press has been calling the Sony hack “the biggest cyber attack in history”, but a number of experts have pointed our how it probably isn’t. For years (sometimes secretly and sometimes publicly) government contracted defence companies like Lockheed have been pelted with a number of attacks from the Chinese. In one instance the hackers took top secret plans for a US fighter plane with which the Chinese developed their latest fighter – a complete rip off of the US plans.

So what is signifiant about this hack? Because it involved mass culture – movies and more specifically Seth Rogan. The hacks leaked private details about famous celebrities – things that grab people’s attention. The highly public nature of this breach means that quite possibly for the first time, people have seen the potential of hacking to cause absolute destruction.

The public has become more interested in securing their devices while businesses and government officials are more motivated to protect our infrastructure. That can only be a good thing.

Source: Financial Post

Sony Made the Rental of ‘The Interview’ Too Easy to Keep

As you will all know by now, Sony released ‘The Interview’ online on Christmas Eve following the massive hack. They released the movie as a rental and as a download for which you can keep. However, it turns out, some people have found it very easy to download and keep the rental copy.

According to some of those who have rented the movie, a right click and “download video as…” is all it takes to keep the rental version for good, saving people a couple of dollars. This is undoubtedly an embarrassing hiccup for Sony, a company trying to prove its technological competence after the largest cyber attack in history.

It’s not yet clear whether this has been fixed, but for those in the US and Canada who have access to the movie, I think it’s safe to say you should go for the rental if you want to see the movie North Korea didn’t want you to see.

Source: The Verge

Apple Reportedly Declined to Show ‘The Interview’ on iTunes

In Sony Pictures’ hunt to find a place to show ‘The Interview’, they reportedly asked Apple, who supposedly declined the offer.

According to The New York Times, Sony apparently asked the White House to help them get it on iTunes, but Apple was having none of it, “at least not on a speedy timetable”.

“It remained unclear, however, whether any on-demand service would take “The Interview.” According to people briefed on the matter, Sony had in recent days asked the White House for help in lining up a single technology partner — Apple, which operates iTunes — but the tech company was not interested, at least not on a speedy time table. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.”

We reported yesterday on the news that the movie will now see its original Christmas Day release, showing at a handful of cinemas, but it’s still unclear as to how everybody will be able to see it.

Source: The New York Times Via MacRumors


Sony Threatens Legal Action Against Twitter Over Hack Leaks

In an interesting turn of events, Sony has delivered one of those threatening letters to Twitter. Sony Pictures has asked the social network to delete accounts that have been sharing leaked material, that’s if they don’t want to face legal action.

Motherboard says that it has seen a letter addressed to Twitter’s general counsel Vijaya Gadde from David Boies, the lawyer given the job of helping clear up Sony’s mess. It says essentially the same things that the one delivered to news outlets says, asking people to stop disseminating or publishing “stolen information”.

“SPE does not consent to Twitter’s or any Twitter account holder’s possession, review, copying, dissemination, publication, uploading, downloading, or making any use of the Stolen Information, and to request your cooperation in suspending the Account Holder’s Twitter account and the account of any other user seeking to disseminate the Stolen Information via Twitter”.

Oddly, the same letter has been delivered directly to a Twitter user, namely Val Broeksmit, who has extensively shared portions of the leaked e-mails on his Twitter account.

Source: Motherboard

‘The Interview’ to Be Released on YouTube and Google Play

After a number of hasty negotiations and discussions, Google has agreed to stream ‘The Interview’ on Google Play and YouTube. It will be available from 10am PST/6pm GMT for $6. It’ll also be streamed by Sony and on Xbox Video.

Google’s Statement:

Last Wednesday Sony began contacting a number of companies, including Google, to ask if we’d be able to make their movie, “The Interview,” available online. We’d had a similar thought and were eager to help—though given everything that’s happened, the security implications were very much at the front of our minds.

Of course it was tempting to hope that something else would happen to ensure this movie saw the light of day. But after discussing all the issues, Sony and Google agreed that we could not sit on the sidelines and allow a handful of people to determine the limits of free speech in another country (however silly the content might be).

So starting at 10 a.m. PST in the U.S., you can rent or buy “The Interview” on Google Play and YouTube Movies. It will also be available to Xbox Video customers and via

Source: TechCrunch

The Interview To Be Released in Select Cinemas on Christmas Day

Well after everything Sony has authorised a select number of US cinemas to release ‘The Interview’ on Christmas Day.

Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League has offered his cinemas to show the movie, a request which Sony has granted.

A cinema in Atlanta has also been allowed to show the movie.

It’s not yet clear exactly how many cinemas will show the movie yet, but we are sure of one thing – against North Korea’s will, ‘The Interview’ will now be released.

Source: The Verge

Sony Hackers Mock the FBI

Guardians of Peace, the group responsible for the massive Sony Pictures hack, have taken to making fun of the FBI. The hackers posted a mocking message aimed at the US justice agency on Pastebin on Saturday.

“The result of investigation by FBI is so excellent that you might have seen what we were doing with your own eyes. We congratulate you success,” wrote Guardians of Peace. “FBI is the BEST in the world.” They added, “You will find the gift for FBI at the following address,” followed by a YouTube link. The link led to a two-minute video containing the phrase “You’re an idiot” repeated over and over.

GOP’s taunting of the FBI is believed to be motivated by claims that North Korea was behind the Sony attack, with the hackers implying that they are not affiliated with the country. Many agree that the accusations, given the available evidence, are baseless.

Security expert Marc W. Rogers is one of many doubters, explaining, “[It’s] pretty weak in my books to claim that the newest piece of malware is the act of a nation state because other possible related pieces of malware were ‘rumored’ to be the work of a nation state. Until someone comes up with solid evidence actually attributing one of these pieces of malware to North Korea I consider this evidence to be, at best, speculation.”

Source: BGR

North Korea’s Internet Appears to Be Under Cyber Attack

North Korean internet has never been very stable, nor is it accessible to many of the citizens. It’s more a tool for North Korea to have access to the outside world and their connections, or so it is thought. They are currently suffering one of the worst outages in recent memory, suggesting that the country may be enduring a mass cyber attack. This comes just shortly after Obama’s response to the Sony hacking.

“I haven’t seen such a steady beat of routing instability and outages in KP before,” said Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at the cybsecurity firm Dyn Research, according to Martyn Williams of the excellent blog North Korea Tech. Madory explained, “Usually there are isolated blips, not continuous connectivity problems. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are absorbing some sort of attack presently.”

There of course are other possible reasons for the outtake, and with a country like North Korea we can’t really expect a public statement, nor really trust any. Remember they sent a man to the sun and back during a night flight? One other possibility is that China simply has cut them off to prevent more conflicts to arise with them in the middle, as North Korea’s internet is routed through China. There’s also the possibility of routine maintenance, but lot of security companies that monitor the current events all point towards an cyber attack.

Where it originates from, is anyone’s best guess. It could be one of the lawless hacking groups or even a government entity somewhere.

Thanks to VOX for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of VOX

The Interview Becomes One of The Highest Rated Movies on The Web

Despite nobody having seen ‘The Interview’ yet, it has already become one of the highest rated films on the web. The Verge reports that the unreleased film has achieved a perfect 10/10 rating on IMDB, after over 22,000 people gave it such high praise.

22,607 IMDB users rated the movie a perfect 10 out of 10 stars, with 28,000 people giving it a 96% “want to see” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. All of this easily makes ‘The Interview’ one of the highest rated movies on the internet, despite professional critics who have seen the movie describing it as a “dumbing-down of the audience that began decades ago” with a “slob aesthetic”.

While not exactly the highest rated movie ever, it has certainly took the record for the highest ever rated movie nobody has actually seen.

Source: The Verge

North Korea Threatens The White House, Acknowledges Cyber Warfare

North Korea has delivered a threat to the United States over its accusations that it was behind the Sony Pictures hack. They’ve warned that they will attack the White House and “the whole US mainland, that cesspool of terrorism”.

They accused the US government of being behind the “vicious and dastardly” plot of ‘The Interview’.

“Our toughest counteraction will be boldly taken against the White House, the Pentagon and the whole US mainland, the cesspool of terrorism, by far surpassing the ‘symmetric counteraction’ declared by Obama.”

They said that they also plan to take down “US citadels” using their armed forces and, rather interestingly, cyber warfare – their first public acknowledgement of their intention to use the internet to attack other countries.

“Our target all the citadels of the US imperialists who earned the bitterest grudge of all Koreans, the army and people of the DPRK are fully ready to stand in confrontation with the US in all war spaces, including cyber warfare to blow up those citadels,”

North Korea is no stranger to delivering heavy handed statements like this, but most of the time they never transpire to anything major. However, now they’ve publicly acknowledged “cyber warfare”, it’ll be interesting to see whether there are any more hacks on the horizon.

Source: The Guardian


Obama Says the Sony Hack Wasn’t An “Act of War”

President Obama is once again talking about the hack on Sony Pictures, where he has said that the cyberattack on the Japanese electronics giant was not an “act of war” but it was a serious case of “cybervandalism.”

Obama was talking with CNN when he said that, adding that there aren’t any clues as to what his administration’s “proportional response” to North Korea might be just yet.

Source: Engadget.

BitTorrent has Offered to Stream ‘The Interview’

Popular torrent service BitTorrent has said that they’ll gladly stream ‘The interview’ – the movie said to be behind the massive North Korea hack attack on Sony Pictures.

Sony has said that they intend to deliver the movie on a “different platform” following their decision to pull it from its Christmas Day release. The company did say that no streaming or download service had come forward with an offer to provide the movie, but now one has.

In a statement to VentureBeat, BitTorrent said:

“BitTorrent Bundle is in fact the very best way for Sony to take back control of their film, to not acquiesce to terrorist threats, and to ensure a wide audience can view the film safely. It would also strike a strong note for free speech.”

It would certainly be interesting if Sony Pictures did decide to go with BitTorrent, a service so commonly linked to movie piracy. If they don’t go with them, how could they release it? The PlayStation Network is a way, but I don’t think Sony wants to risk that with yet another hack. We shall soon find out.

Source: VentureBeat Via: Gizmodo

Kim Jong Un Game Still Going Ahead, Gets Sony Pictures Level

‘Glorious Leader!’ a game about Kim Jong Un, is still going ahead despite the potential threat from North Korea following the Sony cyber attack.

It’s creator, Jeff Miller, is reportedly even more motivated than ever. He’s since set up a crowdfunding campaign requesting $55,000 to get the game finished. Speaking to NBC News, Miller said “I should probably ask for more funds now to beef up our cybersecurity, we didn’t know things were going to get this weird.”

The game features Kim Jong Un with superpowers overcoming the “evil imperialist” United States, taking down drones and soldiers that get in his path. Its creator now says that it will also feature a special Sony Pictures stage following the recent events.

Take a look at the game bellow.

Source: NBC News

North Korea Wants Joint US Investigation on Sony Hack

The BBC reports that North Korea has demanded a joint investigation with US authorities over the Sony hack. The secretive state denied US allegations that the country was behind the massive hack upon Sony Pictures. 

The country said there would be “grave consequences” if the US did not oblige, saying that “the United States is spreading groundless allegations and slandering us”. 

“We propose a joint investigation with it into this incident. Without resorting to such tortures as were used by the US CIA, we have means to prove that this incident has nothing to do with us.”

The news comes after the FBI yesterday officially announced that North Korea was directly linked to the hack. Following this, President Obama delivered a statement affirming the allegations, accusing the country of attempting to impose censorship upon the US, “we cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship”.

Source: BBC News

FBI Releases Statement Linking Sony Hack to North Korea

Seen as an end to all speculation, the FBI has released an official statement linking North Korea to the Sony hack. 

They said ”we are deeply concerned about the destructive nature of this attack on a private sector entity and the ordinary citizens who worked there,”.

They added that the attack was consistent with previous hacks from North Korea as “there were similarities in specific lines of code, encryption algorithms, data deletion methods, and compromised networks,”. 

Ever since the massive hack on Sony Pictures, many have sought to speculate as to who may be behind it. Some rebuffed the idea that it my be North Korea, suggesting that it could be hacker group operating under a disguise, while others have gone to the lengths to suggest that it could all be a clever marketing campaign for ‘The Interview’. 

Well this statement brings much of that to an end, giving us a definite link to the secretive state. President Obama is expected to speak later today with an official response to North Korea. 

Read the full statement bellow –

“Today, the FBI would like to provide an update on the status of our investigation into the cyber attack targeting Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE). In late November, SPE confirmed that it was the victim of a cyber attack that destroyed systems and stole large quantities of personal and commercial data. A group calling itself the “Guardians of Peace” claimed responsibility for the attack and subsequently issued threats against SPE, its employees, and theaters that distribute its movies.

The FBI has determined that the intrusion into SPE’s network consisted of the deployment of destructive malware and the theft of proprietary information as well as employees’ personally identifiable information and confidential communications. The attacks also rendered thousands of SPE’s computers inoperable, forced SPE to take its entire computer network offline, and significantly disrupted the company’s business operations.

After discovering the intrusion into its network, SPE requested the FBI’s assistance. Since then, the FBI has been working closely with the company throughout the investigation. Sony has been a great partner in the investigation, and continues to work closely with the FBI. Sony reported this incident within hours, which is what the FBI hopes all companies will do when facing a cyber attack. Sony’s quick reporting facilitated the investigators’ ability to do their jobs, and ultimately to identify the source of these attacks.

As a result of our investigation, and in close collaboration with other U.S. government departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions. While the need to protect sensitive sources and methods precludes us from sharing all of this information, our conclusion is based, in part, on the following:

  • Technical analysis of the data deletion malware used in this attack revealed links to other malware that the FBI knows North Korean actors previously developed. For example, there were similarities in specific lines of code, encryption algorithms, data deletion methods, and compromised networks.
  • The FBI also observed significant overlap between the infrastructure used in this attack and other malicious cyber activity the U.S. government has previously linked directly to North Korea. For example, the FBI discovered that several Internet protocol (IP) addresses associated with known North Korean infrastructure communicated with IP addresses that were hardcoded into the data deletion malware used in this attack.
  • Separately, the tools used in the SPE attack have similarities to a cyber attack in March of last year against South Korean banks and media outlets, which was carried out by North Korea.

We are deeply concerned about the destructive nature of this attack on a private sector entity and the ordinary citizens who worked there. Further, North Korea’s attack on SPE reaffirms that cyber threats pose one of the gravest national security dangers to the United States. Though the FBI has seen a wide variety and increasing number of cyber intrusions, the destructive nature of this attack, coupled with its coercive nature, sets it apart. North Korea’s actions were intended to inflict significant harm on a U.S. business and suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves. Such acts of intimidation fall outside the bounds of acceptable state behavior. The FBI takes seriously any attempt—whether through cyber-enabled means, threats of violence, or otherwise—to undermine the economic and social prosperity of our citizens.

The FBI stands ready to assist any U.S. company that is the victim of a destructive cyber attack or breach of confidential business information. Further, the FBI will continue to work closely with multiple departments and agencies as well as with domestic, foreign, and private sector partners who have played a critical role in our ability to trace this and other cyber threats to their source. Working together, the FBI will identify, pursue, and impose costs and consequences on individuals, groups, or nation states who use cyber means to threaten the United States or U.S. interests.”

Source: The Verge

George R. R. Martin Offers His Private Cinema To Show ‘The Interview’

The creator of ‘The Game of Thrones’, George R. R. Martin has offered Seth Rogan the opportunity to show ‘The Interview’ in his private cinema.

He days that it was “corporate cowardice” that led to the film’s cancellation and that he’d gladly invite them to his Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe. He doesn’t care how good or bad the film is, saying that “there are thousands of small independent theatres across the country, like my own, that would gladly screen THE INTERVIEW”.

“The level of corporate cowardice here astonishes me.  It’s a good thing these guys weren’t around when Charlie Chaplin made THE GREAT DICTATOR.  If Kim Jong-Un scares them, Adolf Hitler would have had them shitting in their smallclothes.”

You can read the full message to Sony on his LiveJournal page here.

Source: Esquire