- North Korea warns of “serious consequences” if the U.S. keeps tying it to the attack
- “We will not tolerate the people who are willing to insult our supreme leader,” it says
- “But even when we retaliate, we will not conduct terror against innocent moviegoers”
- Sony Pictures canceled the release of “The Interview” after a cyberattack blamed on North Korea
(CNN) — North Korea slammed U.S. claims that the regime is responsible for a cyberattack on Sony Pictures — and then proposed the two countries work together.
“Whoever is going to frame our country for a crime should present concrete evidence,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Saturday.
North Korea: ‘Framed’ in Sony cyber-attack
“America’s childish investigation result and its attempt to frame us for this crime shows their hostile tendency towards us.”
But in a rare move, the North Korean regime said both countries should work together.
“While America has been criticized by its own public and continues to point the finger at us, we suggest mutual investigation with America on this case,” KCNA said.
“If America refuses our proposal of mutual investigation, continues to link us to this case, and talk about actions in response, they (America) will be met with serious consequences.”
FBI pinpoints North Korea
The FBI announced Monday North Korea is responsible for the cyberattack on Sony Pictures. An FBI investigation linked the malware, infrastructure and techniques used by a group of hackers called “Guardians of Peace” in the Sony attack to previous North Korean cyberattacks.
Sony Pictures has shelved plans to screen the controversial comedy “The Interview,” a film depicting the assassination of North Korea’s leader. The move comes after the studio was the victim of cyber attack thought to have originated in North Korea. Click to see how the saga unfolded.
In June 2014, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said “The Interview” was “the most undisguised terrorism.” “If the U.S. administration connives at and patronizes the screening of the film, it will invite a strong and merciless countermeasure,” he said.
In November, “The Guardians of Peace,” a hacker group with suspected ties to North Korea, said that it had hacked Sony Pictures and released massive amounts of data. The group added that there would be more leaks.
December 5 — Hackers exposed the security numbers of 47,423 people including Conan O’Brien, Sylvester Stallone, Rebel Wilson, Judd Apatow and Frank Stallone.
In early December, hackers emailed Sony employees warning that “your family will be in danger.” Guardians of Peace have claimed the email did not come from them. The FBI confirmed in a statement they were aware of the email and are investigating the “person or group responsible for the recent attack on the Sony Pictures network.” Many security experts said the hack increasingly pointed to North Korea.
December 7 — North Korea’s state-run propaganda arm said they were not responsible for the Sony hack attack but applauded it as “a righteous deed of the supporters and sympathizers with the DPRK.” They added they could not be responsible as America is “a country far across the ocean.”
December 8 — Another message appeared on a website saying: “We have already given our clear demand to the management team of SONY, however, they have refused to accept. Do carry out our demand if you want to escape us. And, Stop immediately showing the movie of terrorism which can break the regional peace and cause the War!”
December 11 — Another leaked email revealed a controversial exchange between a Sony executive and a producer, speculating over President Barack Obama’s favorite films, referring to “Django Unchained” and other movies about African Americans such as “12 Years a Slave.”
December 15 – Sony Pictures asked news organizations to stop examining and publicizing the information made public by the hackers. Attorney David Boies said that the hackers’ tactics are part of “an ongoing campaign explicitly seeking to prevent [Sony] from distributing a motion picture.”
December 16 — In an email to Sony Pictures’ co-chair Amy Pascal, producer Scott Rudin called Angelina Jolie “minimally talented” and a “spoiled brat” with a “rampaging… ego”. Jolie and Pascal were later photographed running into each other at an event with Jolie giving Pascal a nasty look.
The leaks also revealed the secret aliases of some well-known actors. Tom Hanks goes by “Johnny Madrid,” Sara Michelle Gellar sneaks around as “Neely O’Hara.” Jessica Alba is “Cash Money.”
December 16 — The New York premiere of “The Interview” was canceled after “The Guardians of Peace” posted a threat against moviegoers. The message said: “We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places ‘The Interview’ be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to,” the hacking group said. “The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001.”
December 17 — Two former Sony employees sued the company for failing to protect their private information. The plaintiffs seek to form a class action lawsuit of up to 15,000 former employees. The plaintiffs want Sony to provide them with five years of credit monitoring, bank monitoring, identity theft insurance and credit restoration services. They also called for Sony to be subject to regular privacy audits.
December 18 — Sony decided to cancel the release of “The Interview,” a decision that sparked outrage among celebrities. A movie theater in Texas announced they would offer a free screening of Team America — which features the leader’s father Kim Jong Il — instead until Paramount shut that down too. Sony also downplayed the possibility that the film could be released online.
How the Sony hack unfolded
Sony Hack Timeline
The hackers broke into Sony’s servers, published private emails and information, and threatened to attack movie theaters screening “The Interview,” a comedy film about an assassination plot on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Obama: Dictators cannot censor us
U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday that Sony Pictures made a mistake in canceling the release of the movie.
“I am sympathetic to the concerns that they face,” Obama said Friday. “Having said all that, yes, I think they made a mistake. Let’s not get into that way of doing business.”
North Korea rejected the notion that it would attack “innocent moviegoers.”
“We will not tolerate the people who are willing to insult our supreme leader, but even when we retaliate, we will not conduct terror against innocent moviegoers,” KCNA said.
“The retaliation will target the ones who are responsible and the originators of the insults. Our army has the intention and ability to do (so).”
Analyst: We underestimated North Korea
The show may go on
Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton rebuffed Obama’s criticism in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, saying his company did not make a mistake.
Sony CEO: We did not make a mistake
He said the decision to pull back from the planned December 25 release was based on major movie theater companies telling Sony that they would not screen the film.
“We have not caved. We have not given in,” Lynton said. “We have persevered, and we have not backed down. We have always had the desire to have the American public see this movie.”
And despite enduring what he called “the worst cyberattack in American history,” Lynton said his studios would make the movie again. But in retrospect, he may have “done some things slightly differently.”
A defiant Sony scrambles to find a way out for ‘The Interview’
CNN’s Evan Perez, Jim Sciutto and Jeremy Diamond and journalist Yoonjung Seo contributed to this report.
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