North Korea is innocent of the Sony hack, according to expert hacker and cyber security pro Marc W. Rogers.
Rogers has managed security for Vodafone, spent five years working as the CSO for a real estate and asset management conglomerate in South Korea, and is the Head of Security and part of the CFP review board for DEF CON, the worlds largest hacker conference.
In a lengthy blog post dated December 18, 2014, Rogers lays out a fascinating case of why North Korea couldn’t possibly be behind the Sony hack — in spite of what the FBI claims — and how it is far more likely that it was an inside job, probably carried out by “a disgruntled employee.”
The Verge’s Jacob Kastrenakes and Russell Brandom report more on this point.
“The hackers claim to have taken sensitive internal data from Sony. In an email from an address associated with the hack, a hacker who identified as ‘lena’ was vague about how the attack was carried out. ‘Sony doesn’t lock their doors, physically, so we worked with other staff with similar interests to get in,’ lena writes. ‘Im sorry I can’t say more, safety for our team is important [sic].'”
Further discrediting the idea that Pyongyang is responsible, Rogers feels the “fact that the code was written on a PC with Korean locale & language actually makes it less likely to be North Korea.”
“Not least because they don’t speak traditional ‘Korean’ in North Korea, they speak their own dialect and traditional Korean is forbidden. This is one of the key things that has made communication with North Korean refugees difficult. I would find the presence of Chinese far more plausible.”
Rogers also reasons that the revenge motive was at play, pointing out that the “info and access they had could have easily been used to cash out, yet, instead, they are making every effort to burn Sony down.”
The hacker/security expert notes that whoever was behind this could have used it for intense financial gain, but instead opted for a data dump to intentionally harm the company with no financial benefit.
“Likewise, I find it hard to believe that a ‘Nation State’ which lives by propaganda would be so willing to just throw away such an unprecedented level of access to the beating heart of Hollywood itself,” he added.
In Rogers’ mind, The Interview tie-in seems to be a late-in-the-game tactic that the hackers latched on to from watching media reports, as the film was never mentioned early in the hackers’ campaign.
Why would they do such a thing even going as far as issuing a terrorist threat?
“I think the attackers both saw this as an opportunity for ‘lulz’ and as a way to misdirect everyone into thinking it was a nation state. After all, if everyone believes it’s a nation state, then the criminal investigation will likely die.”
Here’s a full blow-by-blow of the Sony hack for any of you wanting to start at the beginning and see how such a thing could go down in the way that it did.
What do you think of Rogers’ determination that the Sony hack wasn’t the work of North Korea but a disgruntled employee (or group of employees)? Sound off in our comments section.