- The FBI last week announced that they had discovered conclusive evidence proving the North Korean government was behind the Sony hack
- President Obama then attacked the country for their behavior during a news conference, and informed them that the United States would retaliate
- Now, the findings of the FBI are being called into question by many of the cybersecurity industry’s leading experts
- What’s more, after an independent investigation, Norse has determined that they believe a woman named ‘Lena’ is responsible for the hack
- Almost every expert stated that they believe the hack had to have been an inside job
The FBI just last week confirmed what many Americans already assumed to be a forgone conclusion when they revealed there was conclusive evidence that North Korea’s government was behind the hacking of Sony, an attack the government bureau said was carried out as a way ‘to inflict significant harm on a U.S. business and suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves.’
Then, in a press conference on Friday, President Obama not only attacked North Korea and leader Kim Jong-un for their attempts to ‘intimidate’ Americans through their actions, but went so far as to warn the country that America would retaliate in response their actions.
Almost immediately the North Korean leader issued a statement denying involvement and demanding an apology from the United States for their ‘evil doings.’
And while that apology is probably never coming, it seems that Kim Jong-un may be right, at least according to numerous cybersecurity experts and hackers who have come forward to not only point out the flaws in the FBI’s investigation, but also possibly reveal the identity of the culprit.
The first FBI claim that Rogers tears down also happens to be one the strongest that the FBI has, saying in their statement; ‘The malware used in this attack revealed links to other malware that the FBI knows North Korean actors previously developed.’
There are two problems with this according to Harris, and both have to do with the bureau basing their findings on assumptions as opposed to fact.
First,while a similar malware may have been used in a previous cyber attack that North Korea has been linked to, that does not serve as definitive proof that this attack was carried out by North Korea.
Harris then further chips away at this statement, pointing out that he and many security experts do not believe North Korea was involved in those previous incidents, whose coding the FBI is referencing to tie the attacks together.
What’s more, the coding for one of the two malwares, Shamoon, was leaked according to Harris, and would not be difficult for any hacker to find.
He then takes aim at the FBI conclusion that since the IP addresses used in the attack are addresses used by North Korea in previous attacks, they must be responsible.
According to Harris, the reasoning is flawed as these addresses are used by everyone from major hackers to even small time Internet criminals to avoid detection, meaning these addresses could tie virtually anyone in the hacking community, or even someone using stolen credit cards to shop online and avoid detection, to the attack.
Then, there is the fact that the demand by the hacking group, who call themselves the Guardians of Peace, that the The Interview not be released was not announced until weeks into the hack, and only after some members of the media had begun to perpetuate the now widely accepted story that the goal of the hack was to make sure The Interview would never be distributed by Sony.
Kurt Stammberger, a senior vice president with cybersecurity firm Norse, echoed many of Harris’ statements in a separate interview, and said that given the severity of the hack it had to have been an inside job.
Stammberger, whose company decided to carry out their own independent investigation, told CBS News; ‘We are very confident that this was not an attack master-minded by North Korea and that insiders were key to the implementation of one of the most devastating attacks in history.’
That’s not all either, as he says their research seems to be pointing them towards a woman named Lena who even claims be a member of Guardians of Peace.
‘This woman was in precisely the right position and had the deep technical background she would need to locate the specific servers that were compromised,’ revealed Stammberger.
Then there is world famous hacker Hector Monsegur of Anonymous, known to many as Sabu, who does not think North Korea could have hacked Sony, a company whose internal systems he knows all to well as he has hacked into their database.