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So how did the United States know that North Korea was responsible for hacking Sony Pictures Entertainment last year? Well, it seems that’s because the United States had actually hacked North Korea first, back in 2010, and left monitoring software that our government’s cyber-spies could track back to the nation.

The New York Times reports that the NSA, in cooperation with South Korea and other allies of the United States, hacked its way into “Chinese networks that connect North Korea to the outside world,” and “picked through connections in Malaysia favored by North Korean hackers” to penetrate “directly into the North.” In short, it seems as though the intelligence that pointed the finger at North Korea for the now-infamous hacks on Sony Pictures Entertainment came as a direct result of our own hacks four years ago. That doesn’t seem to give us particularly high moral ground in this situation…

The article cites James A. Lewis, who’s called a “cyberwarfare expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies,” who explained the connection between the United States’ cyber-activities and its ability to recognize North Korea as the Sony hack culprit:

“Attributing where attacks come from is incredibly difficult ans slow. The speed and certainty with which the United States made its determinations about North Korea told you that something was different here – that they had some kind of inside view.”

Now that we have that information out in the open, we need to face the question of what happens next. Will North Korea continue its efforts in cyber-attacks one way or another? Will there be a retaliation online – or offline? Or are things going to go back to the way they were before the Sony hacks, an uneasy stare-down across the Pacific Ocean? And who else has the US been hacking?

[Source: New York Times]

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