Tag Archives: sony

British Spy Agency Hacking and Stealing Emails From NBC News, NY Times, Washington Post

Washington D.C.- Newly released National Security Agency documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden show that during a 10 minute timespan in 2008, the UK’s GCHQ spy agency collected at least 70,000 emails from journalists at The Washington Post, The New York Times, NBC News and multiple overseas news organizations.

Just the latest in a string of releases revealing the massive capabilities of modern intelligence gathering organizations, the information is renewing fears of a massive security complex that is threatening the rights of private citizens as well as government watchdogs.

Interestingly, GHCQ listed investigative journalists as the second greatest threats to security, directly behind terrorist organizations.

Don’t expect outrage from the Obama Administration which itself has seized the private communications of reporters and hacked journalist’s phone lines and email.

On the other hand, it is interesting to see the outrage against the alleged North Korea hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment and the stealing of data from that private entertainment company. Meanwhile, it is unlikely that any person in Washington will call this an act of cyber warfare despite the fact that a foreign government used cyber technology to hack into the email accounts of American journalists.

In the video above Ben Swann goes into detail about these new revelations.

NSA Chief Pushes Bill Granting New Powers

Ruppersberger Reintroduces CISPA, Citing North Korea

by Jason Ditz, January 09, 2015
For years privacy advocates have been pushing against the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which eliminates all privacy protections on the sharing of private information so long as it is done for “cybersecurity purposes.”

CISPA has failed in the past, but is back again, with Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D – MD), its longtime advocate, reintroducing it and citing the hack of Sony Pictures, putatively by North Korea, as justification for new powers.

The NSA is understandably all over this as well, since it will give the companies it works with carte blanche to share data with them without legal ramifications so long as they can play the cybersecurity card.

It is the eagerness for government agencies to get these new powers and access to information that is likely informing their decision to blame North Korea for the Sony hack, as a foreign attack would be a far better sell for granting them new powers than the likely facts, that Sony was attacked by a disgruntled former employee and a handful of other hackers.

New sanctions to be placed on North Korean organizations

While the origins of the Sony hack is still a point of contention, with some people claiming it was a company insider named Linda and many claiming it was North Korea, President Obama has put up new sanctions against three North Korean organizations as well as 10 individuals.

These sanctions, according to the BBC,  are believed to be the first time the U.S. has punished a country over cyber-attacks against a company based in the U.S.

While all the new sanctions are believed to not be against those directly involved with the Sony hack, White House officials are saying the sanctions are meant to isolate North Korea’s defense industry to prevent future cyber-attacks.

“This is really an example of where you’ve had a country really cross a threshold in terms of its attack due to its destructive and coercive nature,” said an official according to Politico.

The sanctions are mostly centered on North Korea’s military intelligence agencies, while the 10 individuals who are affected by the sanctions are, according to Reuters, involved in the sale and proliferation of weapons.

In a letter written by President Obama to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the president wrote, according to ABC News, “The order is not targeted at the people of North Korea, but rather is aimed at the Government of North Korea and its activities that threaten the United States and others.”

Whether or not these sanctions will have the desired results the White House hopes for is still unknown. However, given the U.S. placed sanctions on North Korea’s nuclear program in 2008, 2010, and 2011, all of which North Korea ignored, one can assume these sanctions will not be taken seriously by the government of North Korea.

U.S. Cybersecurity Expert Calls Sony Hack an Inside Job

Following the major hack on Sony Pictures, some experts in the United States are skeptical of the FBI’s claim that North Korea is responsible.

Instead of blaming Pyongyang for the hack, the Cybersecurity firm Norse, based in California, believes that the hack was actually an inside job, led by a former Sony employee identified as “Lena.”

On Wednesday, a senior vice president of the Norse firm, Kurt Stammberger, told CBS News that the firm’s investigation has led them to believe that the Sony hack was so devastating, it was something that could have only been accomplished by someone on the inside.

Sony was not just hacked, this is a company that was essentially nuked from the inside,” said Stammberger. “We are very confident that this was not an attack masterminded by North Korea and that insiders were key to the implementation of one of the most devastating attacks in history.”

Stammberger identified the main hacker as a woman who calls herself “Lena,” claims she is connected to the “Guardians of Peace” hacking group, and was a Sony employee in Los Angeles for ten years, before leaving in May 2014.

This woman was in precisely the right position and had the deep technical background she would need to locate the specific servers that were compromised,” Stammberger said.

The FBI released a statement last week, blaming the breach on North Korea:

Technical analysis of the data deletion malware used in this attack revealed links to other malware that the FBI knows North Korean actors previously developed. For example, there were similarities in specific lines of code, encryption algorithms, data deletion methods, and compromised networks. The FBI also observed significant overlap between the infrastructure used in this attack and other malicious cyber activity the U.S. Government has previously linked directly to North Korea.”

Stammberger contested the claim, saying that any clues leading in that direction, such as the malware used to attack Sony having been used by North Korea before, have been easily ruled out by his firm, due to the fact that the same malware is used by hackers worldwide daily.

There are certainly North Korean fingerprints on this but when we run all those leads to ground they turn out to be decoys or red herrings,” Stammberger said.

The massive hack on Sony came shortly before the company’s release of the movie “The Interview.”  While the movie’s plot involved an assassination attempt on the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, CBS News reported that the “original demand of the hackers was for money from Sony in exchange for not releasing embarrassing information,” and that there was “no mention of the movie ‘The Interview.‘”

Breaking: Sony WILL Release “The Interview” on Christmas Day After All

UPDATE: Sony has announced as of Tuesday night that at least 200 theaters will be part of the Christmas Day release of “The Interview”.

After all the discussions, debates, soundbites and all around noise surrounding “The Interview”, Tuesday, Sony Pictures Inc. announced that it will in fact, release “The Interview” on Christmas Day. This should raise the question… “Was the public and especially the media being played?” For more on that, watch the video at the bottom of this story, but as of today, “The Interview” is moving forward.

After announcing they would not distribute the film following the reluctance of many theaters to run the picture in the aftermath of a terrorist threat from hacking organization Guardians of Peace, Sony has now decided to allow the film to play in selected theaters.

This according to the Alamo Drafthouse, headquartered in Texas which tweeted “Victory” on Tuesday.

Other small theaters, including the Plaza, Atlanta have announced that they will be screening the Seth Rogan/James Franco comedy as well.

Just a few days ago, Ben Swann interviewed Tyrel Ventura and Tabetha Wallace about this issue and at the time predicted that media was being played. Ventura and Wallace predicted that Sony would release “The Interview” despite its insistence that it would not.

Obama says Sony made a ‘mistake’ after canceling film release

President Obama, in his final press release for 2014, has said the cancellation of the film “The Interview” by Sony Pictures was a “mistake,” and the company should have talked to him before moving forward with their plans.

The president said he was sympathetic towards Sony, and all the employees who were threatened after the recent cyber attacks against the company, and understands their desire for safety.  However, he then went on to say, according to ABC News, “I think they made a mistake,” with concern to the companies decision to cancel the release of the comedy movie.

Afterwards, the president stated, according to RT, “I wish they would’ve spoken with me first. I would have told them: do not get into a pattern in which you’re intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks.

The Sony hacks and cancellation of the film though, were also said to be an example of how the U.S. needs to pass a cybersecurity bill by Congress.

“In this interconnected digital world, there are going to be opportunities for hackers to engage in cyber-assaults both in the private sector and in the public sector… We need more rules about how the internet should operate,” the president said according to Boing Boing.

Representative Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) echoed the president’s for more regulation over the internet.

“This is only the latest example of the need for serious legislation to improve the sharing of information between the private sector and the government to help companies strengthen cybersecurity,” said Sen. Feinstein.  “We must pass an information sharing bill as quickly as possible next .”

BREAKING: Sony Pictures CANCELS release of “The Interview” Following Terror Threats from Hackers

Following an online threat from a group calling itself Guardians of Peace (GOP) several cities have decided not to show the upcoming film “The Interview.”

UPDATE 5:15 EST: AP has tweeted that Sony Pictures cancelled the release of the film.

UPDATE: AMC and Regal theaters announced as of 3:00 PM Wednesday that their theaters will not be showing “The Interview.” AMC and Regal are the two largest theater chains in the nation.

The film follows two men played by Seth Rogen and James Franco as they are recruited to  assassinate Kim Jong-Un. The film has caused controversy in America and North Korea. The Executive Director of CFKAP (Center for Korean-American Peace) Kim Myong-chol told the Daily Telegraph, “A film about the assassination of a foreign leader mirrors what the US has done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine. And let us not forget who killed Kennedy – Americans. In fact, President Obama should be careful in case the US military wants to kill him as well.”

The GOP have claimed responsibility for recently leaked emails that were hacked from Sony Entertainment. The online threat came with the release of another set of documents hacked from Sony. The full message reads:

We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.

The threat lead to Carmike Cinemas to remove the film from its 238 theaters spread across 41 states. Deadline reports that California’s ArcLight Cinemas is also considering not showing the film in its five theaters. Theaters in Cincinnati, Detroit  Austin, and Baltimore have also cancelled screenings of the film.

The premiere of the film at Landmark Cinemas in New York City was cancelled as well. This week the stars of the film announced they would not continue their promotional tour. The National Association of Theatre Owners released a statement notifying its member that “Individual cinema operators may decide to delay exhibition of the movie” if they choose.

Time reports that the hacks had been linked to North Korea. North Korea, however, denied having anything to do with the hack or the threats. The Department of Homeland Security commented on the situation, stating there was no “credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters within the United States.”