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This article was published on January 8, 2015


FBI Director says IP addresses gave North Korean Sony hackers away, but he could be wrong

FBI Director says IP addresses gave North Korean Sony hackers away, but he could be wrong
Abhimanyu Ghoshal
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Abhimanyu Ghoshal

Managing Editor

Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and culture. Hit him up on Twitter, or write in: [email protected].

There’s been a lot of back-and-forth in the curious case of the Sony Pictures cyber-attack last November, as to who is to blame — but now, FBI director James Comey is more certain than ever that North Korea was involved.

Speaking at a cybersecurity conference yesterday, Comey reiterated findings that showed the hackers failed to hide their IP addresses, which point to computer systems in North Korea, reports WIRED.

The FBI claims that the hackers occasionally failed to mask their IP addresses, which gave away the origin of their attack. However, as Professor Alan Woodward at the University of Surrey told Forbes, the FBI “have not said what the evidence is for maintaining they are used ‘exclusively’ by North Korea.”

Security experts say that the FBI would have to trace those IP addresses back to North Korean government-controlled servers to be even remotely sure of the agency’s claims. And even then, proving that the attack was ordered by the country’s government will be difficult.

Another point that the FBI isn’t addressing clearly is that the hacker group that claimed responsibility for the attack initially attempted to extort money from Sony, and only later demanded the cancellation of its film The Interview.

While the motive first pointed to North Korea being behind the attack, the FBI debunked the claim and the country followed suit. Following its own investigations, the FBI then blamed North Korea.

As the FBI hasn’t yet publicly released any of its findings, including the aforementioned IP addresses, for scrutiny by outside security experts, there’s not much we can do but wait to see what else comes out in America’s investigation of the case.

Why You Still Shouldn’t Totally Trust FBI Claims On North Korean Hacking Of Sony [Forbes]