North Korea: A Real Threat

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Re: North Korea: A Real Threat

Unread postby Gray Riders » Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:46 pm

I think it depends on what happens next. If it goes unchallenged they could keep it up. I wouldn't be surprised if cyber-attack reprisals are heading North Korea's way very soon, though, and if it's bad enough it may convince them it's a bad tactic.
Of course attempts to silence criticism from another country's films or other media have been attempted before with varying success, and I'm sure they'll be some pushback, although a lot of it will likely be aimed at Sony and the various Theatre owners.
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Re: North Korea: A Real Threat

Unread postby James » Mon Dec 22, 2014 8:43 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:Given North Korea's success in getting the Interview and Team America withdrawn from the scenes, hitting Sony's reputation and finances quite badly, is this a route North Korea can use more to gain worldwide credibility/sense of threat? Or was this a one time thing and they will stick to military/governing targets with cyber warfare?

It probably sets its best example as a representation of where we're heading in terms of cyber warfare. Security is becoming more sophisticated than ever before, and the bad guys have it easy—if you're responsible for security you have to be perfect; the bad guys only have to find one solid mistake.

I'm still pretty intrigued by the event. Our only indication that it is North Korea is research from the FBI, though the actual demands support their claim. There are people in tech who observe that someone with other goals could very well have used it all as a cover. And I also think the expectation that if it was North Korea it was done through resources in other countries is accurate. I'm really not sure how the US is going to be able to handle it. I'm also semi-sympathetic* to Sony. Aside from the theaters bizarrely deciding not to show the film, they're probably in a really tough spot as some of those extra pieces of information that were going to be released (may still be released) may have exposed them in significantly greater ways, and it's already producing interesting results. It might be for naught if the movie is released anyway. Anonymous has suggested they're going to leak the film anyway on Christmas.

* Semi-sympathetic because they're also settling into a bed they made. They've played just as dishonest and corrupt a role in the media (movies, not news) world as their United States counterparts.
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Re: North Korea: A Real Threat

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Tue Dec 23, 2014 3:53 am

James wrote:I'm still pretty intrigued by the event. Our only indication that it is North Korea is research from the FBI, though the actual demands support their claim. There are people in tech who observe that someone with other goals could very well have used it all as a cover. And I also think the expectation that if it was North Korea it was done through resources in other countries is accurate. I'm really not sure how the US is going to be able to handle it. I'm also semi-sympathetic* to Sony.


Well, it is a fairly intriguing event in any case.

There are several angles to The Interview that I tend to agree with:

a.) It was probably a bad movie anyway.
b.) It certainly wasn't a brave gesture on anyone's part, and making a movie about the assassination of a sitting head of state is in any event extremely inappropriate. If any other country had made a movie about Bush or Obama getting assassinated, it would certainly have drawn strong criticism and possible retaliatory action from the US government.
c.) Sony is a Japanese company, and North Korea poses a much larger threat to Japan than they do to us. I'm sure that this calculus figured heavily in Sony's motivation for pulling the film.

All that having been said, I feel like the political aftermath was kind of overblown. Both the reaction of theatres and the reaction by the US government, with Obama chastising Sony publicly for pulling the film and declaring the issue a matter of national security, were complete overreactions. Certainly the hack was an embarrassment for Sony Pictures, and certainly it showed a gaping flaw in Sony's security architecture, but I'm not sure we have any overriding security interests in defending Sony against North Korea? Shouldn't we be primarily concerned with protecting our own computers?
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Re: North Korea: A Real Threat

Unread postby Gray Riders » Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:07 am

WeiWenDi wrote: If any other country had made a movie about Bush or Obama getting assassinated, it would certainly have drawn strong criticism and possible retaliatory action from the US government.

There was actually a film about Bush being assassinated, though it doesn't seem to have been a comedy.
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Re: North Korea: A Real Threat

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:39 am

WeiWenDi wrote:a.) It was probably a bad movie anyway.


The most positive ones are "nice enough if you like that sort of humour" but have no plans to watch it


b.) It certainly wasn't a brave gesture on anyone's part, and making a movie about the assassination of a sitting head of state is in any event extremely inappropriate. If any other country had made a movie about Bush or Obama getting assassinated, it would certainly have drawn strong criticism and possible retaliatory action from the US government.


BBC doing a Thatcher assassinated film or something like that, think someone did a Blair one, neither created huge outrage but upset some. However if, say, US had done it, would have indeed been outrage. However I don't think retaliation would have gone to quiet the level of North Korea.

North Korea leaders are an easy target for comedy indeed.

c.) Sony is a Japanese company, and North Korea poses a much larger threat to Japan than they do to us. I'm sure that this calculus figured heavily in Sony's motivation for pulling the film.


I also imagine the outrage if places were blown up also came into account.

All that having been said, I feel like the political aftermath was kind of overblown. Both the reaction of theatres and the reaction by the US government, with Obama chastising Sony publicly for pulling the film and declaring the issue a matter of national security, were complete overreactions. Certainly the hack was an embarrassment for Sony Pictures, and certainly it showed a gaping flaw in Sony's security architecture, but I'm not sure we have any overriding security interests in defending Sony against North Korea? Shouldn't we be primarily concerned with protecting our own computers?


Given Sony's PSN this year, all their parts need to have a look at their security. Seems like the whole issue has become freedom and democracy vs tyranny and censorship so people are grandstanding somewhat
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Re: North Korea: A Real Threat

Unread postby Gray Riders » Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:55 pm

Sony apparently planning to stream The Interview through Crackle.

"Oh, you don't want us showing the movie in theatres? Wish granted. We're showing it over the internet so everyone can see it."
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Re: North Korea: A Real Threat

Unread postby James » Tue Dec 23, 2014 7:19 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:a.) It was probably a bad movie anyway.
b.) It certainly wasn't a brave gesture on anyone's part, and making a movie about the assassination of a sitting head of state is in any event extremely inappropriate. If any other country had made a movie about Bush or Obama getting assassinated, it would certainly have drawn strong criticism and possible retaliatory action from the US government.
c.) Sony is a Japanese company, and North Korea poses a much larger threat to Japan than they do to us. I'm sure that this calculus figured heavily in Sony's motivation for pulling the film.

I certainly do expect it was going to be a bad movie, and I had no plans to watch it. Although I'm not sure how much that should have any impact on observing the consequences associated with what has taken place. And producing the film certainly wasn't a brave gesture. On the other hand, choosing to release the film in light of terroristic threats, among other not insignificant consequences, could be considered a brave gesture.

That said, I'm not quite sure where my feelings on this fall. I think it's generally bad taste to make a movie about assassinating anyone living. And even if it's accepted as a given that the person in question is an awful person, it still doesn't feel particularly productive. And it's interesting to think about how a film featuring the assassination of Presidents Bush or Obama would have been received. I suppose a lot of it would have had to do with the nature of those films. There's a big difference between a comedy, a political statement, or a film intended to glorify or celebrate the action.

Sony is indeed based and founded out of Japan, but they're one of those companies which has become so massive that they're effectively working out of numerous countries. It still seems relevant to another country's opinions on their actions. I think the main sticking point here isn't so much that as it is the fact that these are not government properties and it is perfectly reasonable for the calculus used to weigh the own company's consequences. President Obama did acknowledge as much.

WeiWenDi wrote:All that having been said, I feel like the political aftermath was kind of overblown. Both the reaction of theatres and the reaction by the US government, with Obama chastising Sony publicly for pulling the film and declaring the issue a matter of national security, were complete overreactions. Certainly the hack was an embarrassment for Sony Pictures, and certainly it showed a gaping flaw in Sony's security architecture, but I'm not sure we have any overriding security interests in defending Sony against North Korea? Shouldn't we be primarily concerned with protecting our own computers?

Well... in some ways it does represent a national security issue, in that it sets precedent for a means to gain leverage on a company and establishes that the threats we're attributing to North Korea can be successful. And if the matter is disregarded it, to some extent, legitimizes the threats and their results (the hacks, 9/11 style attacks, whatever that means, or the other assorted threats North Korea made after being accused).

What's the appropriate response? I really don't know. And mostly it is saber rattling in this case. In the least, if it was North Korea, it should be investigated as to how the hack was facilitated. And a discussion about how a nation and its businesses should receive this sort of threat should take place. Not so much because this is a major event, but rather because cyber attacks are trending upward along with our dependence on networking, computers, and the internet. This is going to become a greater threat in the future not just in the United States, but in other countries as well. It already is a great threat. The Stuxnets of this world will be used by a country and its enemies. And we're already moving into an era where the right kind of hack can do far more damage than a bombing.
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Re: North Korea: A Real Threat

Unread postby James » Tue Dec 23, 2014 7:22 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:Given Sony's PSN this year, all their parts need to have a look at their security. Seems like the whole issue has become freedom and democracy vs tyranny and censorship so people are grandstanding somewhat

To be fair, it's an important question. It was long before this event took place, and events like this play into current discussions. Such as in the United States, where there's a battle over what freedoms should be destroyed or preserved in light of national security. The NSA monitoring programs are a good representation of this.

The security thing both you and WWD mentioned is tricky. Once you've got significant resources backing a hack—especially in the hands of a country with an established cyber espionage program—odds are against a company like Sony. Even future Sony where they've seen incredible losses as a result of this attack and will now take security far more seriously. The problem here really is the defending network needing to be nearly perfect and the offending hackers needing one or a few mistakes.
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Re: North Korea: A Real Threat

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Tue Dec 23, 2014 11:57 pm

Just wanted to respond to one thing here, for now:

James wrote:What's the appropriate response? I really don't know. And mostly it is saber rattling in this case. In the least, if it was North Korea, it should be investigated as to how the hack was facilitated. And a discussion about how a nation and its businesses should receive this sort of threat should take place. Not so much because this is a major event, but rather because cyber attacks are trending upward along with our dependence on networking, computers, and the internet. This is going to become a greater threat in the future not just in the United States, but in other countries as well. It already is a great threat. The Stuxnets of this world will be used by a country and its enemies. And we're already moving into an era where the right kind of hack can do far more damage than a bombing.


Again, I kind of feel that in this particular instance, the credibility of the threat was not properly assessed. But the rest of your point is very well-taken. The kind of attack that was threatened here is certainly a cause for concern, and you're right that some sort of discussion should take place on how that is to be dealt with. And hacks can do great damage, but also (as this case shows) the culprits are not always readily identifiable. This places hacking in the same sort of category as terrorism (at least as far as geopolitics is concerned), and there ought to be some level of caution in ascribing blame to nation-states on that account.
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Re: North Korea: A Real Threat

Unread postby James » Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:38 am

WeiWenDi wrote:Again, I kind of feel that in this particular instance, the credibility of the threat was not properly assessed. But the rest of your point is very well-taken. The kind of attack that was threatened here is certainly a cause for concern, and you're right that some sort of discussion should take place on how that is to be dealt with. And hacks can do great damage, but also (as this case shows) the culprits are not always readily identifiable. This places hacking in the same sort of category as terrorism (at least as far as geopolitics is concerned), and there ought to be some level of caution in ascribing blame to nation-states on that account.

The trick in assessing credibility in this case is that we probably don't have all the information the FBI is going on. In the very least, based on what has been released, I'm skeptical. Funny, that. It's really not so different from other international conflicts where we're to trust what we're told without reviewing the evidence.

We're in agreement, though. Cybercrime—indeed, cyberterrorism—is going to play an increasingly greater role in the future of geopolitical relations and national security so it is very appropriate indeed to expect the same sort of ethics in its handling that we would like to have seen in handling international crimes which are easier for the layman to understand.

And given the discussion, this article seems rather on-topic:
How North Korea won the Sony cyber war even if they didn't start it
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