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North Korea prime suspect in Sony Pictures ransomware attack

Comedy film about assassination of Kim Jong Un said to be motive

North Korea prime suspect in Sony Pictures ransomware attack
Comedy: Kim's government denounced the movie as 'undisguised sponsoring of terrorism, as well as an act of war'.

North Korean-backed hackers operating from China have become the prime suspects in last week's ransomeware attack on Sony Pictures, Re/code reported.

The motive could be objections to a forthcoming movie, to be released by Sony Pictures, called "The Interview", a comedy in which two journalists are recruited by the CIA to assassinated North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Pyongyang articulated its disappointment in a strongly worded letter to UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, in June, describing the film as "undisguised sponsoring of terrorism, as well as an act of war".

Sony Pictures' internal network was brought down by a group calling itself GOP (reportedly standing for "Guardians of the People"), which issued undisclosed demands for a reinstatement of systems. Employees at Sony Corp's US-based media subsidiary were reportedly working with pencils and paper while admins tried in vain to fix the problem.

The movie stars James Franco as the host of a TV show that Kim avidly watches, and Seth Rogen as the show's producer. When Kim offers them the opportunity to interview him, the CIA contacts them with a plan to assassinate the leader.

KCNA, North Korea's state-controlled media agency, quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman in June as pledging a "merciless counter-measure" if the film was released. According to the Voice of America, Kim's administration also wrote to US president, Barack Obama, requesting he block the movie's release.

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