White House focuses on North Korea

The United States is weighing the possibility of a “proportional response” to the cyber-attack on Sony Pictures that prompted the cancellation of the release of the $44 million-dollar film The Interview. U.S. officials believe that North Korea was a key player in the cyberattack, believed to be a retaliation to the satirical picture about the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. President Obama has reportedly made the issue a top priority.

While the Obama administration believes the attack originated in North Korea, some cyber security experts remain skeptical, citing the exhaustive inside knowledge the hackers appeared to have on Sony’s internal architecture. The Guardians of Peace, the group taking credit for the attack, has released thousands of emails between studio executives and producers, as well as some 47,000 social security numbers. The group sent news outlets an email on Tuesday threatening to attack theaters that screened The Interview, which led Sony to cancel its release the next day.

Given the uncertainty over exactly who perpetrated the attack, it remains unclear exactly how the United States might respond, and whether such a response would provoke or deter another attack. “It’s a new area, and we’re in uncharted territory,” said Scott Snyder, a senior fellow for Korea studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. “It’s hard to know at this point if there are other options that might be less visible.”

[Foreign Policy]

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