After weeks of (well-founded) speculation that North Korea was responsible for the hack that's currently crippling Sony studios, the United States government has confirmed that it believes the country is indeed behind the act.
U.S. officials told NBC News that "the hacking attack originated outside North Korea, but they believe the individuals behind it were acting on orders from the North Koreans." NBC also reports that U.S. government sources revealed that they "have found linkage to the North Korean government," though the sources declined to reveal what actions the U.S. government is weighing in retaliation.
Over the past few weeks, Sony has been the victim of an ongoing leak of sensitive information (including employees' Social Security numbers, passwords, and personal emails) and property (including multiple unreleased films such as the upcoming "Annie" remake). It is believed that the hack was in retaliation for "The Interview," the comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco centered around the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Sony has since canceled the planned Christmas release of the film, after multiple high-profile theater chains declined to show the movie. The group behind the attack, calling itself Guardians of Peace, had threatened terrorist attacks if "The Interview" had been released as scheduled.
Another North Korean-centric film, an in-development drama set in Pyongyang starring Steve Carell, has also been cancelled. Deadline reports that the untitled project, which was to be directed by Gore Verbinski and start production in March, was nixed by New Regency because "under the current circumstances, it just makes no sense to move forward."
The White House National Security Council said in a statement Wednesday that "the U.S. government is working tirelessly to bring the perpetrators of this attack to justice" and expressed support for Sony. "The United States respects artists' and entertainers' right to produce and distribute content of their choosing. ... We take very seriously any attempt to threaten or limit artists' freedom of speech or of expression."
[via: NBC News, Deadline]