North Korea has refused to deny it was behind a cyber-attack a week ago that resulted in online leaks of several new Sony Pictures films, possibly in retaliation for a forthcoming Sony film depicting a fictional plot to assassinate Kim Jong-un.
The attack leaked at least five high-profile titles – the recently released Fury, as well as unreleased movies such as Still Alice, Annie and To Write Love On Her Arms – to file-sharing sites and crippled the firm’s corporate email and other parts of its internal network.
The Interview, a comedy due for release next month about two journalists who are hired by the CIA to assassinate Kim, was not leaked. There has been speculation that the North, perhaps using hackers based in China, was trying to get its retaliation in early.
Despite reports that North Korea has assembled a sophisticated cyber-attack unit, and similarities between the Sony hack and a cyber-attack on South Korean banks and TV networks last year, experts say little hard evidence exists to point to the secretive state.
But North Korean officials appeared happy to let their country stay on the list of suspects. Asked whether Pyongyang was involved in the attack, a spokesman for North Korea’s mission to the UN accused “hostile forces” – usually a reference to the US, South Korea and Japan – of blaming everything on the North. But he added: “I kindly advise you to just wait and see.”