CBS News reports: Cybersecurity experts are questioning the FBI’s claim that North Korea is responsible for the hack that crippled Sony Pictures. Kurt Stammberger, a senior vice president with cybersecurity firm Norse, told CBS News his company has data that doubts some of the FBI’s findings.
While Norse is not involved in the Sony case, it has done its own investigation.
“We are very confident that this was not an attack master-minded by North Korea and that insiders were key to the implementation of one of the most devastating attacks in history,” said Stammberger.
He says Norse data is pointing towards a woman who calls herself “Lena” and claims to be connected with the so-called “Guardians of Peace” hacking group. Norse believes it’s identified this woman as someone who worked at Sony in Los Angeles for ten years until leaving the company this past May. [Continue reading…]
The New York Times adds: A number of private security researchers are increasingly voicing doubts that the hack of Sony’s computer systems was the work of North Korea.
President Obama and the F.B.I. last week accused North Korea of targeting Sony and pledged a “proportional response” just hours before North Korea’s Internet went dark without explanation. But security researchers remain skeptical, with some even likening the government’s claims to those of the Bush administration in the build-up to the Iraq war.
Fueling their suspicions is the fact that the government based its findings, in large part, on evidence that it will not release, citing the “need to protect sensitive sources and methods.” The government has never publicly acknowledged doing so, but the National Security Agency has begun a major effort to penetrate North Korean computer networks.
Because attributing the source of a cyberattack is so difficult, the government has been reluctant to do so except in the rarest of circumstances. So the decision to have President Obama charge that North Korea was behind the Sony hack suggested there is some form of classified evidence that is more conclusive than the indicators that the F.B.I. made public on Friday. “It’s not a move we made lightly,” one senior administration official said after Mr. Obama spoke.
Still, security researchers say they need more proof. “Essentially, we are being left in a position where we are expected to just take agency promises at face value,” Marc Rogers, a security researcher at CloudFlare, the mobile security company, wrote in a post Wednesday. “In the current climate, that is a big ask.”
Mr. Rogers, who doubles as the director of security operations for DefCon, an annual hacker convention, and others like Bruce Schneier, a prominent cryptographer and blogger, have been mining the meager evidence that has been publicly circulated, and argue that it is hardly conclusive. [Continue reading…]