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Think North Korea hacked Sony? Think about this

Martyn Williams | Dec. 22, 2014
There's a lot of circumstantial evidence, but very little actual information on the hack against Sony.

The movie wasn't mentioned until a message on Dec. 8, and then it was in addition to previous demands made by the group.

"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!"

The movie wasn't mentioned by name until Dec. 10, when the hackers also issued their threat to movie theaters.

North Korea issues threats all the time

The country expressed outrage at "The Interview" on June 25 when, without mentioning it by name, it promised "Those who defamed our supreme leadership and committed the hostile acts against the DPRK can never escape the stern punishment to be meted out according to a law wherever they might be in the world."

If you don't follow North Korea closely -- and few do -- you'd be forgiven for thinking that's a pretty damning statement of intention. But such threats are business as usual for North Korea.

On the same day, the state-run news agency hit out at regional U.S. military actions, saying the situation was so grave "that a nuclear war may break out any moment." In the same article, it said "Only merciless punishment and fist, not word, will work on the U.S." And a day later, it lashed out at South Korea, saying its own soldiers were awaiting "the order to be given by the Supreme Command to strike the provocateurs."

It's easy to believe

Because not a lot is known about North Korea, things that really should be questioned are sometimes taken as fact because they neatly fit into the box where many people place North Korean behavior: weird with a touch of crazy.

Take the death of Jang Song Thaek, Kim Jong Un's uncle, who was removed in a purge a year ago. A report, eventually traced back to a Chinese satirical website, said he had been killed by being stripped naked and fed to a pack of ravenous dogs. Newspapers jumped on the story without questioning its source, and it made global headlines for a day until cooler minds noted he was probably killed by a firing squad.

And then there was Kim Jong Un's former girlfriend, Hyon Song Wol, who, according to newspaper headlines in late 2013, had also been purged and killed by firing squad. In May this year she appeared on North Korean television speaking at an event in Pyongyang and looking very much alive.

 

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