The Interview to screen despite threats of further attacks

Barack Obama has supported Sony’s decision to show The Interview in art-house cinemas across the US over Christmas

Barack Obama has supported Sony’s decision to show The Interview in art-house cinemas across the US over Christmas, despite warnings of further cyber attacks.

According to the BBC, a statement from the White House encouraged the release of the film, highlighting the president’s belief in the US as a country of free speech and expression.

The statement said: "The decision made by Sony and participating theatres allows people to make their own choices about the film, and we welcome that outcome."

Sony believes the recent cyber attack on the entertainment company may be linked to the film, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as journalists who plan to interview the North Korean leader and are recruited by the CIA to kill him. 

The attack led to high-quality copies of still-to-be-released films being leaked online, and the firm is reportedly investigating whether North Korea is involved.

The act also crippled the company’s network and exposed the personal details of 47,000 people, but North Korea has officially denied responsibility.

More recently, internet access in North Korea was partially restored after the country suffered an outage across its four networks, according to reports.

The country’s internet suffered instability and came back online after nine-and-a-half hours of outage, according to Dyn Research, which monitors thousands of networks worldwide.

Internet access in North Korea is limited to civilians anyway, as access to external internet, as opposed the internal North Koran intranet, is reserved for the government and those with special authorisation.

There has not yet been any indication on whether the outage was caused by an external cyber attack or an internal problem.

In March 2014, North Korea pointed the finger at the US accusing the country of carrying out cyber attacks against its internet servers, blocking access to some websites.

Postscript 12th January 2015

Marcus Ranum, senior strategist, Tenable Network Security and information security author said: “The FBI saying that the NK are absolutely positively doing this is somewhat absurd unless they present solid evidence that can be analyzed by industry experts.

“FBI's claim is that the method used is similar to other attacks by NK. Actually, it's more similar to shamoon, which looked more like something Israeli than NK.

“The FBI says that there are common code fragments as in other attacks by NK, but that's because there are common code fragments in a lot of malware - specifically the disk wipe technique used, etc.

“What ought to be looked at is the commonalities in operations and agenda. And NK has shown that they don't really care very much about stuff like dumb American movies. You didn't see an upset over "Team America" and the Kim Jong Il sketch in there - which was horribly racist.

“If the FBI presented evidence that conclusively linked NK to the attack, then it might be reasonable to respond by asking upstream providers to put some router blocks in NK's internet links and give them an official "internet time-out" …. [But] The right response is to claim the moral high ground and say that we are not engaging in such activities and to call for the establishment of an international norm for how to respond to countries that do”.



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