Hacks (Both Types) 37


That North Korea was responsible for the Sony hack is the most improbable bit of US propaganda of 2014. There is ample forensic evidence that the hack was an inside job, while the evidence that it was North Korea is … secret. Not one of my myriad contacts who are present or retired security service officers believe it. But geek stuff aside, there are many adjectives that apply to the North Korean regime, most of them unpleasant. Sophisticated is not one of them.

A hack that didn’t destroy anything but released online a horde of exceedingly dull and mostly trivial commercial documents is scarcely the style of the totalitarian North Korean state. The media struggle to big up the non-story has put a cost of US$100 million to Sony on the hack – but that is largely the cost of improving its IT systems, not damage from the event itself.

The US response to sanction North Korea and temporarily to shut down its internet has been daft. Isolation is the problem in North Korea, not the solution. One thing we can be 100% sure of is that, even were North Korea behind the hack (which is extremely improbable), it was not physically initiated within North Korea.

This extraordinary non-story succeeded in knocking the Feinstein Report into CIA torture off the top of the World news agenda. It will also be repeatedly cited as justification for NSA snooping and moves to state censorship of the internet. The willingness of the entire mainstream media to run with this obviously false story has been alarming. I think we all knew by now you can’t unquestioningly believe anything on the BBC, but really…


37 thoughts on “Hacks (Both Types)

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  • giyane

    Difficult to choose for first prize for false media reports about hacking between Obama’s Sony , Cameron’s attacks on ISIS and Ed Balls promises on the NHS.

    ISIS hacking off the heads of members leaving might be true though.

  • TonyF12

    You are 100pc correct, Craig.

    This whole fiasco of blaming North Korea for Sony’s security issues is a nonsense. Similar screenplay to the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight getting pinned on Vladimir Putin and Colin Powell’s award-winning WMD presentation at the UN. Washington DC needs some new scriptwriters in its warmongering department.

    The data hacking at Sony Pictures has all the hallmarks of an inside job (probably disgruntled ex-employees), then the joining in of some outside hackers who enjoy the sport. This is another indication that the main vulnerability the US have now is home-grown, not any demonised outsiders in Pyongyang, Moscow, Beijing, or wherever you choose to name in the Middle East. Washington needs to pay more attention to what is going on within its own borders.

    If North Korea wanted to attack the US using data hacking there would be much more interesting and effective targets than Hollywood.

  • Rob

    Agree with most of what you say. For more technical criticism of the NK attribution, see Bruce Schneier’s blog here and here. Bruce Schneier is a very highly regarded expert on computer security.

    The one point I would take issue with is the capacity of NK to carry out the attack. There are links in the first of the articles cited here which discuss the ‘world class’ NK capabilities.

  • nevermind

    If it is proven that Sony hacked its own release, then there must have been a plan to do it and consequences must have been talked about.
    Sony should be prosecuted for slander and incitement, another company on my list to boycott, its easy, they have got nothing special that could not be provided by someone else.

    Multinationals should realise that they not just have a responsibility to their shareholders and profits, but also for dealing with their global clients in a fair and equitable way.
    most of their new games sold failed to work for nearly a week because they were not prepared, but they can run a hack and publicity campaign for a bad film?

    Just as students have a responsibility to ask questions about why economics have failed. Sorry slightly o/T

    maybe someone more educated and appropriate would like to comment on a phenomena, never heard before.
    Worldwide, economic students are revolting, some are striking, others have left their studies in disgust due to the control that is exercised on them.
    The issue? teaching economics and the relations to reality, nobody wants to teach the real reasons behind the last crash, why it could have been avoided, what bankers jobs are really about, what bankers jabs are all about, the ins and outs of banking.

    They are offered a homogeneous straight school model, but not in relation to what is happening in reality.
    I touched upon this a few times here that unsustainable economics cannot produce a sustainable society and system, unless our financial system is based on real values and assets, it is impossible to live sustainable.

    http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/nov/18/academics-back-student-protests-neoclassical-economics-teaching

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Strangely, R4 gave some time to the failure of the accepted economic models yesterday. In much greater depth, this paper covers similar ground:

    http://keenomics.s3.amazonaws.com/debtdeflation_media/papers/Dahlem_Report_EconCrisis021809.pdf

    Crucially:
    In our view, economists, as with all scientists, have an ethical responsibility to communicate the limitations of their models and the potential misuses of their research.
    Currently, there is no ethical code for professional economic scientists. There should be one.

    However, it pretty well ignores another obvious conclusion – it isn’t a political document – which is that economists are by and large funded by people and institutions with a lot of money, and with every reason to encourage economic models tending to make them richer still, regardless of the social consequences.

  • John Goss

    There is reason to believe that the western portrayal of North Korea is at least misleading, and not nearly as bad as it has been portrayed. What North Korea is is a country surviving despite sanctions, and surviving without dollar debt.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2638213/Tourist-took-camera-inside-North-Korea-expected-really-really-sad-people-shocked-seemingly-ordinary-lives-citizens.html

    Like Iran, Cuba and other dollar debt-free regimes it poses a danger to the west’s proposed New World Order (their phrase not mine). Obama is tackling the Cuba problem by opening the trade doors after decades of blockade. Elsewhere the US is creating nonsense false flags like the Sony pantomime to impose regime change and using its responsibility to protect (R2P), otherwise known as “humanitarian intervention” to illicit regime-change, or at least try. I think the US (or South Korea) is still technically at war with North Korea. In the Ukraine, which I don’t believe has had a civil war since the Soviet Civil War, a neo-Nazi regime has been installed which marches openly in support of Bandero. We are in deep shit until or unless the US imperialist-led western alliance crumbles!

    http://rt.com/news/219783-nazi-parade-kiev-bandera/

  • Clark

    Craig, I wish you’d called this post “Hacks and Cracks” or something. “Hack” and “Hacker” have become propaganda terms of the Copyright Industry, of which Sony is a central member.

    The original Hackers wrote the software that gave us the Internet, and championed open source development of Free Software, software that protects our freedom. They hate being conflated with people who exclusively break computer security. The following is from Eric S Raymond, author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar, one of the most influential books of Hacker culture:

    http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/hacker-howto.html

    Q: Would you help me to crack a system, or teach me how to crack?

    A: No. Anyone who can still ask such a question after reading this FAQ is too stupid to be educable even if I had the time for tutoring. Any emailed requests of this kind that I get will be ignored or answered with extreme rudeness.

    Q: How can I get the password for someone else’s account?

    A: This is cracking. Go away, idiot.

    Q: How can I break into/read/monitor someone else’s email?

    A: This is cracking. Get lost, moron.

    Q: How can I steal channel op privileges on IRC?

    A: This is cracking. Begone, cretin.

    And why does this matter? :-

    https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html

  • Silvio

    Sony Hack a Prime Excuse for New US Cybersecurity Laws
    by Jason Ditz, January 04, 2015

    Congress has been reluctant to pass the various draconian cybersecurity laws pushed by the administration in recent years, but that may be changing because of the high-profile Sony Pictures hack.

    With the FBI ‘successfully’ pinning it on North Korea, at least so far as everyone on Capital Hill is concerned, there is a great deal of pressure for Congress to “do something,” and little interest in the evidence that North Korea had nothing to do with it.

    http://news.antiwar.com/2015/01/04/sony-hack-a-prime-excuse-for-new-us-cybersecurity-laws/

  • CanSpeccy

    The entire story is CIA stunt, with O’Barmy selling the lie as usual.

    The ultimate objective, obviously, regime change North Korea. The short-run objectives: (1) to give publicity to a crap anti-Kim Jong Un movie, thereby providing Sony with an opportunity to recoup their cost of making the film; and (2) providing justification for air dropping the movie over North Korea, where it is supposed to stir dissent.

  • Abe Rene

    North Korea had a motive to carry out this hack, namely to prevent the release of a film embarrassing to its leader. It may well be that the hackers weren’t too enthusiastic about their task, or about the feasibility of the aim, but they would agree and do their best, or face very unpleasant consequences.

  • Briar

    Anyone who disapproved of endorsing murder and of inane comedy would have had a motive for this hack. But I didn’t do it. Motive is not proof. The actual proof points in another direction entirely.

  • Herbie

    I think if someone is wearing a Star of David so prominently on a pullover like that, they’re making a statement about their support for Israel. They’re unlikely to be making a statement about their Judaism. That would be a tad crude.

    He’s therefore making a political statement.

    It means he’s quite big on Israel, bigger than the average US or European Jew, by all accounts.

    What would such a person do for their beloved Israel, seems a reasonable question in this context.

    The story sold by the US on this film is so obviously bollocks, and he must know that.

    But hey, he made more money than the film deserved and the US and Israel got a propaganda excuse to further hit their enemies.

  • CanSpeccy

    @AR

    North Korea had a motive to carry out this hack, namely to prevent the release of a film embarrassing to its leader.

    Either you’re bloody daft or the North Koreans are, since obviously the effect of the hack has been to give huge publicity to a crap anti-North Korea movie, justify US sanctions on N. Korea and prompt S. Korea to air drop the subversive video in North Korea.

  • glenn_uk

    @”Old” Abe: The year is only 5 days old. But already you’re strongly in the running to win (yet again) the award for posts stating the bleedin’ obvious, while missing the actual point completely.

  • Laughingstock shoa

    Ha ha, it’s funny enough that a couple of fired Sony suits made fools of the US President and the FBI, but now brainwashed statist dupes like Abe Rene have to put on the clown shoes too and say all kinds of stupid crap.

  • Resident Dissident

    “This is Mr Seth Rogen out in his casual attire. Quite telling.”

    I know what it is telling me. That and the despotic monarchs fan club.

  • Beverley Krell

    I agree with most of your comments, particularly about knocking Diane Feinstein’s report off the front page. America certainly has the knack off imposing sanctions on selected countries like North Korea and Russia, but omits sanctions against Israel.
    I differ with you comments about North Korea’s cyber attack abilities.

  • Resident Dissident

    “A hack that didn’t destroy anything but released online a horde of exceedingly dull and mostly trivial commercial documents is scarcely the style of the totalitarian North Korean state.”

    ?

    http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130320/south-korea-police-investigating-server-outages-at-major-tv-net

    http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2013/04/01/20/0301000000AEN20130401004000315F.HTML

    3000 trained hackers and Kim um Goss to boot.

  • Mark Golding

    The dollar or dollar i.o.u is extremely vulnerable because it is worthless, a piece of paper of zero value. What gives the dollar virtual value is American military muscle, her ability to strike and annihilate and eliminate any piece of land or it’s occupiers in any portion or piece of the planet.

    A good con artist never admits the con, he just stays on message helped by props and propaganda till you reject reality and accept his bullshit! The ‘war on terror’ quite frankly buttresses the assumption and acceptance of the statement in the first paragraph; a message that is IMO the springboard for that leap in consciousness essential for survival. Deficit of transformation in the human psyche is the route to extinction, to apathy, depression, impotence, tribulation, hopelessness and death.

    The massive ‘big bubble’ collapse of the economic system in 2015 as ‘Dr Doom’ predicts (Schiff called the 2008 collape), ensures our world will be governed commanded ‘from a bunker’ wired to assassination drones, the best strategists, ‘hacktivist’ psychopaths and one ‘motherfucker’ of a database.

    The credulous will expire. The tortured whose loyalty was ripped from their hearts, obey the machine and subvert in a 2015 ‘World Spring’ now extensively exercised in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and recently Ukraine.

    No MG has not gone mad, cuckoo or bananas – this is not my hypothesis, it is the chatter of deep-state gatekeepers putting in order.

    We have IMHO 6 months to quicken and advance past the tipping point which is still reachable, to bring back into a clarifying light and force the world court to indict these bastards, the corrupt, the torturers, the warmongers and war-crime recreants.

    On the seventh month we all feel the pain of Gazans first-hand — or not.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGhVpmRLI54

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Mark,

    When you state:-

    ” The dollar or dollar i.o.u is extremely vulnerable because it is worthless, a piece of paper of zero value. What gives the dollar virtual value is American military muscle, her ability to strike and annihilate and eliminate any piece of land or it’s occupiers in any portion or piece of the planet.”

    I agree with you.

    However I think that you should add – and also there is the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

    By so adding you will then see that when Gadhafi was murdered – his sins were:-

    1. Setting out to use Libya’s gold reserves to back an all Africa currency full backed by gold and so lending to better continental currency management.

    2. Bringing the entire African Union countries on board for the project.

    3. Making a move that if properly implemented would have assisted and benefited Africa tremendously.

    But – we can’t have divergence from dollar hegemony – so – kill him!

  • Mary

    Some more hyping up of their execrable film from Sony’s CEO.

    Sony CEO Kaz Hirai addresses The Interview hacking woes by hyping Annie
    By Emily Yoshida
    on January 5, 2015
    http://www.theverge.com/2015/1/5/7497405/sony-ceo-kaz-hirai-ces-2015-the-interview-hacking-annie

    Video

    “I’m very proud of all the employees, and certainly the partners who stood up against the extortionist efforts of criminals, and worked tirelessly, sometimes for days on end to bring you The Interview,” Hirai said. “I have to say that freedom of speech, freedom of expression, are very important lifelines of Sony and our entertainment business.” LOL

  • Puzzled

    You gotta hand it to the psyops and false flag division based at the N Wing of the Pentagon. They sure employ some creative thinkers there.

  • Clark

    Mary’s quote, 8:17 am

    “I have to say that freedom of speech, freedom of expression, are very important lifelines of Sony and our entertainment business.”

    Oh, so that’ll be why Sony released infected audio CDs to damage their own customer’s computers with a rootkit, and why they sued users for programming their own PlayStations:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_rootkit

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Computer_Entertainment_America_v._George_Hotz

    There are plenty of reasons that Hackers ie. programmers might want to take revenge upon Sony by cracking their systems. Sony are suppressing our right to read:

    https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html

  • Macky

    Rather careless, if not downright naughty, of you Clark, to ive the impression that those words of the words of the Sony CEO, were Mary’s own !!

    Nearly as naughty as Craig pretending that this is “the most improbable bit of US propaganda of 2014”, rather than the tsunami of lies over Ukraine !

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