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Sony hack- North Korea or not?

Kim-jong-unSony got hacked; that much we know for sure. There were some very embarrassing revelations about how much their senior executives, big Democrat donors, like to mock black people including President Obama and other Hollywood insider dreck. The government eventually told us that the hackers were part of an elite North Korean cyber attack unit working to stop Sony from embarrassing the Great Doughnut Eater Kim Jong Un. Once you stop laughing about elite and North Korean it is possible, but there is now some public pushback against that idea.

There is a piece in the Daily Beast by Marc Rogers, a gentleman with excellent cybersecurity credentials, and he seems to believe he has debunked this North Korean hack idea. The problem is that his logic does not seem as solid as his technical acumen. 

The FBI has released some information they claim leads to the North Koreans and Mr. Rogers says it is unimpressive and leads only to the semi-charted wilds of the internets. In reality those two things are not mutually exclusive. Firstly if the FBI & NSA actually released the data and technical means that led our cyber sleuths to the North Koreans, then all of them should be fired. Those things are secrets and telling everyone what they are makes them useless. I am well aware the Obama administration often leaks classified info when it suits them, but what would be their motivation? If they didn’t actually believe Big Kim was behind this, and have some better proof in private, then why pick a fight with him?

Another place where his argument falls well short is this.

2. The hackers dumped the data. Would a state with a keen understanding of the power of propaganda be so willing to just throw away such a trove of information? The mass dump suggests that whoever did this, their primary motivation was to embarrass Sony Pictures. They wanted to humiliate the company, pure and simple.

Exactly, but not in the way he thinks. This actually points to why North Korea is an excellent suspect. Sony makes a bad movie that mocks the Supreme Leader, the Norks decide to pay them back with some of the same. You do not poke fun at crazy dictators with impunity.

Another point that fails to impress is the idea that only an insider could have had access to the passwords and other intricacies of the Sony system needed to heist the data. All hacks that do not involve physically stealing the servers that information resides on are  done by insiders or someone successfully masquerading as one. Even if the actual data theft was done by an insider, the NKs could have co-opted a disgruntled Sony employee with money or a honey.

We don’t have access to all the info the NSA and Cyber Command do and it seems unlikely they released the actual “AHA!” clues that convinced them it was North Korea. That said, it is certainly possible that the government is lying or misdirecting us for its own purposes or just through its normal incompetence. This article raised some questions about that, but answered far fewer than it claimed.