Latest in Back door

Image credit:

The NSA knew North Korea hacked Sony because it hacked North Korea first

Steve Dent, @stevetdent
January 19, 2015
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

The US government recently took the rare step of directly blaming North Korea for the crippling hack of Sony in retaliation for its satire film, The Interview. But how could it be so sure in the face of doubters, who said another hacking group disguised as North Korea, or a malcontent insider were to blame? According to a new pile of Edward Snowden documents revealed by der Spiegel and other publications, it's simple: the US government inserted backdoor software into North Korea's computer systems years before the hack even happened.

The NSA used South Korea's established inroads to install malware on North Korean networks, which was able to provide enough evidence to pinpoint the nation as the source of the Sony hack, according to anonymous government officials. This leads to the question, if the NSA had enough intel, why wasn't it able to advise Sony of the attack ahead of time? Administration officials said that the "spear-phishing" attacks -- which entice e-mail users to download infected files -- didn't look out of the ordinary or raise any alarms. But those attacks allowed the hackers to steal a key system admin's credentials, which they used to carefully infiltrate the system, search out key files and eventually destroy or leak them.

Though the NSA's backdoor "beacons" in North Korea's systems didn't help it see the hack coming, they were instrumental in building a case against the nation afterwards. The evidence convinced President Obama to quickly accuse Kim Jong-Un's of orchestrating the hack -- the first time the US has made such a charge, according to the New York Times.

In this article: Back door, Hack, North Korea, NSA, Sony
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Presenting the Best of CES 2021 winners!

Presenting the Best of CES 2021 winners!

View
Canon made a site that lets you 'take photos' from a real satellite

Canon made a site that lets you 'take photos' from a real satellite

View
NASA's Orion spacecraft is ready to fly to the Moon

NASA's Orion spacecraft is ready to fly to the Moon

View
Apple is reportedly working on a major redesign for the iMac

Apple is reportedly working on a major redesign for the iMac

View
NASA abandons InSight mission to crack the surface of Mars

NASA abandons InSight mission to crack the surface of Mars

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr