FBI Concludes North Korea Behind Sony Hacking Scandal

The FBI has concluded that North Korea is, in fact, responsible for the Sony hacking scandal, which has leaked private emails, employee information and eventually lead to the cancellation of The Interview–a satire following Seth Rogen and James Franco as two journalists on a mission to assassinate Kim Jung-un.

Officials had been investigating the situation since November, when Sony first fell victim to the hacking group known as The Guardians of Peace.  The group launched their attack through leaked emails, but things quickly escalated when they threatened to perform 9/11-like attacks against any theaters that dared release The Interview on Christmas Day.

Following the threat, America’s biggest theater chains decided not to screen the film.  Thus, Sony was forced to cancel it all together, sparking outrage throughout Hollywood.

The FBI released  a statement today after concluding North Korea’s involvement: “We are deeply concerned about the destructive nature of this attack on a private sector entity and the ordinary citizens who worked there,” the statement reads. “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.”

The statement continues to criticize the North Korean government’s poor choice to “inflict harm” or “suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves,” adding that the U.S. will take action.

“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 will continue to work with other companies involved in the attack, saying it 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.”

Finally, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said (via NBC News) s the U.S. is considering a “proportional response” to the attack, but is unable to make that information public.

Meanwhile, The Guardians of Peace have posed yet another threat against Sony in a statement demanding that any trace of The Interview be destroyed immediately.

The statement reads: “It’s very wise that you made the decision to cancel The Interview, It will be very useful for you. We still have your private and sensitive data,” the message said. “We ensure security for your data unless you make additional trouble. Now we want you never let the movie released, distributed or leaked in any form of, for instance, DVD or piracy. And we want everything related to the movie, including its trailers, as well as its full version down from any website hosting them immediately.”