The Federal Bureau of Investigation formally announced that the government of North Korea is responsible for the cyber-attack that took place against Sony Pictures Entertainment. The company had been set to release a controversial satirical film featuring a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“The attack destroyed systems and stole large quantities of personal and commercial data,” said the FBI in a statement. A group calling itself the “Guardians of Peace,” claimed responsibility and subsequently issued threats against Sony Pictures Entertainment, its employees and theaters that distribute its movies.
After an investigation in collaboration with other U.S. agencies, the FBI said it had evidence that the North Korean government was responsible for the cyber-attack and threats.
At a press conference, President Barack Obama pledged the United States would respond to North Korea’s actions “proportionally, and in a place and time and manner that we choose."
In a written statement, Secretary of State John Kerry condemned North Korea, calling its behavior “a brazen attempt…to suppress free speech and stifle the creative expression of artists beyond the border of its own country.”
Mr. Kerry noted that freedom of expression is at the center of American values: “We’re a country where artists openly mock and criticize the powerful, including our own government. We don’t always like what they say about us or about others, and sometimes we’re even deeply offended. But those offenses have always taken a back-seat to freedom of expression.”
“Threats in cyberspace pose one of the greatest national security challenges to the United States,” said Secretary of State Kerry, “and North Korea’s actions…are well beyond the bounds of acceptable state behavior in cyberspace. This provocative and unprecedented attack and subsequent threats only strengthen our resolve to continue to work with partners around the world to strengthen cyber security, promote norms of acceptable state behavior, uphold freedom of expression, and ensure that the Internet remains open, interoperable, secure and reliable.”