North Korea denies involvement in Sony Pictures hack

A government official denied involvement as experts continued to analyze the attack

North Korea, for the first time, has denied involvement in the recent cyber attack that hit Sony Pictures.

The country is a suspect in the attack, partly because of Sony's upcoming release of The Interview, a comedy in which two TV reporters travel to North Korea on a secret mission to kill leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korea has been blamed for cyber attacks before, on South Korea, and state media earlier this year threatened "a strong and merciless countermeasure" should the Sony movie be released. But on Wednesday a government official denied any link between North Korea and the attack on Sony.

"Linking the DPRK to the Sony hacking is another fabrication targeting the country," an unnamed North Korean diplomat at the United Nations told the Voice of America.

"My country publicly declared that it would follow international norms banning hacking and piracy," VOA quoted the official as saying.

North Korea doesn't have an official diplomatic presence in the United States and its representatives at the United Nations often act as a conduit between the two countries.

Some computer security experts have said the hit on Sony bears the hallmarks of an action by activist hackers, not a nation-state.

The taunting images displayed on computers, public messages to Sony and release of gigabytes of company data resemble an attack by a hacktivist group, perhaps with connections to disgruntled employees, said Lucas Zaichkowsky, an enterprise defense architect with Resolution1 Security.

Computer security experts are still working with Sony to analyze the attack.

On Wednesday, technology news site Recode said Sony would soon name North Korea as source of the attack, but the company has said the report was "not correct." Reuters reported on Thursday that a U.S. national security source said North Korea remains "a principal suspect."

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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