It now looks like American officials believe North Korea is “centrally involved” in the recent hacking and information leaks of Hollywood studio Sony Entertainment Pictures after all, New York Times reported.
Details of how this was determined has not been released, however, and officials have said it was unsure how the White House would respond. Since the hack, the North Korean government has denied being involved – although it publicly applauded the hackers’ efforts.
According to NBC News, unnamed U.S. officials reported it is believed the hackers, who call themselves Guardians of Peace, are operating under direct orders from North Korea, but are doing so from outside the country.
All this comes after Sony lost almost 100 terabytes (or so the hackers claim) of sensitive data with up to 200 gigabytes of it already leaked to the public. The hackers have specifically targeted the studio’s upcoming film The Interview, a comedy about the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Most recently, the hackers threatened to attack theatres in the U.S. were they to screen the film, causing several major chains to withdraw the movie from their lineups. In response, Sony has also cancelled the film’s Christmas Day theatrical premiere.
“We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers,” said Sony in a statement.
Nevertheless, U.S. president Barack Obama, in an interview with ABC News, assured that authorities found “no credible evidence” of a “serious threat to theatres” based on the hackers’ claims.
“The cyber-attack is very serious,” said Obama. “For now my recommendation would be that people go to the movies.”