Technology and Science

Reports: Sony Hackers Eye US Media Target

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The Sony hackers are reportedly setting their sights on attacking a leading U.S. news organization, according to an FBI bulletin.

The bulletin discloses that threats from the so-called “Guardians of Peace,” the cyber attackers behind the Sony Pictures Entertainment hacking, have “extended to … a news media organization.”

The FBI bulletin, obtained by The Intercept website and ABC News, refers to Sony as USPER1 and the potential new target as USPER2. Media speculation surrounding the second reference seems to point to a major American media outlet, the news reports say.

Additionally, these threats have extended to USPER2 —a news media organization—and may extend to other such organizations in the near future, the bulletin said.

Meanwhile, the United States is continuing to insist that North Korea hacked into Sony’s corporate computers.

But private investigators say they believe the cybersecurity attack was launched by a disgruntled former worker at the company.

FBI agents met this week with officials at a prominent American cyber intelligence firm, Norse Corporation. The company is claiming that a Sony insider, possibly working with hackers outside the company, penetrated company files.

One Norse official said their investigators could find no indication that North Korea “either ordered, masterminded or funded” the attack.

But after meeting with the Norse officials, the FBI stood by the conclusion it reached in mid-December, saying there is “no credible information” that anyone other than North Korea was responsible for the security intrusion.

The Sony files embarrassed the company, with corporate officials expressing derogatory views about prominent Hollywood actors and movie industry officials.

The disclosures came as the company was preparing to release a comedy film, The Interview, that depicted the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

With North Korea protesting the movie’s premise as an “act of war” and U.S. theater chains reluctant to show it for fear of violence from hackers, Sony initially delayed last week’s scheduled opening.

But after U.S. President Barack Obama said Sony had made a mistake in withholding the movie, Sony reversed course and released it. There have been no protests against its showing in the U.S., while movie critics have generally panned the quality of the film.

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