Everything all along has pointed to North Korea being the prime mover behind the Sony hack. The North Korean government has denied involvement but otherwise indicated it was completely delighted with the results of the hack. On 12.17 N.Y. Times reporters David Sanger and Nicole Perlruth ran a story saying that “senior administration officials who would not speak on the record about the intelligence findings have concluded that North Korea was ‘centrally involved’ in the hacking of Sony Pictures computers.” An apparent response followed when North Korea’s internet was blacked out, presumably by Obama administration operatives.
But now UPI.com’s Francis Burns is reporting that the hacking may have been an inside job by a disgruntled former Sony employee. A woman, in fact. Kurt Stammberger, a senior vp with the security firm Norse, believes [that] “the hacking was an inside job. Stammberger said the team has even identified one possible perpetrator, a woman who worked for Sony for 10 years before losing her job in a recent reorganization.”
Hold on…I’m not following. The whole North Korea narrative is, what, imaginary? Or did this woman somehow feed information to someone else who assisted the Guardians of Peace, the hackers who claimed responsibility for the Sony hack? I’m completely confused.
It’s also being suggested in a piece by the Washington Post‘s Brian Fung that the Lizard Squad, the hacker group “whose name is suddenly on everyone’s lips after it took credit for ruining Christmas for PlayStation and Xbox gamers everywhere,” may have provided key Sony data to the Guardians of Peace to assist in their hacking.
Okay, but where does the disgruntled ex-Sony female employee fit in?
The Lizard Squad guy calls himself “Ryan Cleary,” but Krebs on Security says “Ryan” is a pseudonym being used by a Finnish teenager named Julius Kivimäki.
In any event the following exchange between Fung and “Ryan Cleary” is interesting:
Fung: “Some reports suggest you’ve got links to Guardians of Peace, and possibly to the Islamic State. Can you talk about that for a minute?”
[Another long pause, about five minutes.]
“Ryan” Kivimak: “Well, we do know some people from the GOP. We do not have any links to the IS.”
Fung: “But you didn’t work with Guardians of Peace to breach Sony’s network and gain access to the e-mails, etc.? In other words, you know some people but weren’t involved in the Sony hack surrounding The Interview?”
[A seven-minute pause.]
“Ryan” Kivimak: “Well, we didn’t play a large part in that.”
Fung: “What part did you play?”
“Ryan” Kivimak: “We handed over some Sony employee logins to them. For the initial hack.”
Fung: “Like, a lot of them? And how did you come by them yourselves?
“Ryan” Kivimak: “We came by them ourselves. It was a couple.”
A “couple”? In other words a man and a woman? Could the woman have been the same disgruntled female alluded to in the UPI piece? I’m just trying to be logical here.
Does everyone understand how good this is all getting? This is a fascinating movie. This is a terrific movie. And it has to be directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin. I’m serious. This story has everything in it. It’s a thriller about where we are now, how nations and corporations are weak and crumbling and the renegades are hooting and throwing stones outside the gates.