Tags: Sony | NKorea | hacking

WSJ: Cyber Experts Warn of More 'Malicious' Hack Attacks

Friday, 26 December 2014 09:29 AM

As the Sony Pictures movie "The Interview" played to packed theaters, the Obama administration and U.S. corporations are gearing up for more cyberattacks from "malicious actors" with an ax to grind.

Michael Daniel, the cybersecurity coordinator for the White House National Security Council, tells The Wall Street Journal that North Korea’s hacking of the film studio in retaliation for its comedy about the assassination of the country’s leader Kim Jong Un marked "a real crossing of a threshold" in computer safety.

"It really is a new thing we’re seeing here in the United States," Daniel said. "You could see more of this kind of activity as countries like North Korea and other malicious actors see it in their interest to try and use that cyber tool.

"Because it’s new, it’s kind of ill-defined right now. People are groping their way toward it."

And Jim Trainor, the deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division, warned: "Just as Sony got attacked in this case, so could other folks in that industry and, as such, sharing information from that incident as quickly as possible in a form that they can adjust quickly into their network is important."

Shawn Henry, the president of the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike Services, says that the vengeful attack on an American company was not unexpected.

"It’s not like someone came up with a new plan," said Henry, a former executive assistant director of the FBI. "It’s just that somebody decided to do it."

He said that, partially due to Americans’ concerns about privacy, civil liberties and Internet data collection by the National Security Agency, the government has been moving slowly to crack down on potential cyberterrorism.

“If there was a foreign army trying to get into the country or if there were foreign planes buzzing our airspace, we know what the U.S government’s response to that would be. But in this space, the government is not filtering out the malicious traffic.

"It’s going to take some attacks much greater than what we’re seeing at Sony to allow the public to change course and say, 'OK, we get it. We recognize how dangerous this is.'"

According to the newspaper, the administration is particularly concerned about the cyberthreat to the country’s infrastructure, including electric grids and control turbines.

Government officials, in fact, have staged several meetings with energy executives in 13 cities across the country advising companies not to link up industrial control systems to the Internet, the Journal reported.

Some Republican lawmakers are already beginning to press for new measures on cybersecurity to be introduced, the Journal noted.

Arizona Sen. John McCain has blasted President Barack Obama for not doing enough to protect the U.S. against the threat of hack attacks, and declared that passing "long-overdue, comprehensive" legislation on the issue should be a leading item on the government’s agenda.

However, last week Obama called on Congress to pass "strong cybersecurity laws that allow for information-sharing."

He added: "Because if we don’t put in place the kind of architecture that can prevent these attacks from taking place, this is not just going to be affecting movies, this is going to be affecting our entire economy."

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As the Sony Pictures movie “The Interview” played to packed theaters, the Obama administration and U.S. corporations are gearing up for more cyber attacks from “malicious actors” with an ax to grind.
Sony, NKorea, hacking
Friday, 26 December 2014 09:29 AM
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