NSA tracked North Korea computer systems before Sony hack2015-01-19 13:24 by Daniela
Tags: NSA, Sony, security
Recently disclosed NSA documents have revealed that several years before Sony was hacked by North Korean attackers, the U.S. intelligence officials have gained access to the country's computer systems. Probably, this monitoring led the US government to blame Pyongyang for the recent attack on Sony Pictures.
"Attributing where attacks come from is incredibly difficult and slow," James A. Lewis, a cyberwarfare expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington told The Times. "The speed and certainty with which the United States made its determinations about North Korea told you that something was different here - that they had some kind of inside view."
With the help of the authorities in South Korea, the NSA had built up a sophisticated and wide-ranging program allowing it to inject malware on the North's hacker unit's computers and networks and further track their online activity.
Fearing not to lose such a valuable intelligence access, so far, the security agency has declined publicly to admit the existence and effectiveness of its North Korean operations.
Surprisingly, the NSA did not notice anything unusual about the initial North Korean cyber attacks on Sony. Only while looking into the major attack in November did investigators realize Pyongyang hackers had stolen the login credentials of a Sony network administrator through the September spear phishing attacks.
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