No link found to N Korea in Sony hack: senior FBI investigator
Post-incident forensics so far fail to confirm Pyongyang involvement
FBI cyber forensics investigators have been unable to confirm suspicions that North Korea was behind the crippling cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, Reuters reported.
"There is no attribution to North Korea at this point," Joe Demarest, assistant director with the FBI's cyber division, said during a panel discussion at a cybersecurity conference sponsored by Bloomberg Government.
North Korean state-controlled media this week dismissed claims that Pyongyang was behind the Sony Pictures network outage that began on 24 November and lasted more than a week.
The KCNA news agency blamed "supporters" for the incident: "The hacking into Sony Pictures Entertainment might be a righteous deed of the supporters and sympathisers with the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] in response to its appeal."
A soon-to-be-released Sony Pictures movie starring James Franco tells the story of two journalists recruited by the CIA to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. It was denounced in a July letter from Kim's government to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, as "undisguised sponsorship of terrorism and an act of war".
Reports from tech site Re/code cited a source close to Sony's investigation as saying the media company was ready to name North Korea as the culprit. Reuters also cited "people close to separate investigations being conducted by Sony and the government" as saying North Korea was a "principal suspect".
The Sony Pictures attack resulted in the theft of sensitive information and intellectual property, in the form of upcoming movies that were uploaded to torrent sites. The breach is considered by security analysts to be the most severe ever conducted against a company on US soil and recent estimates indicate the incident could cost Sony as much as $100m.