A U.S. official's mention of a possible China link in the Sony hack addresses a key point of curiosity about the massive data breach last month on Sony Pictures Entertainment: Did poor North Korea, with its unreliable electricity, act alone and unabetted?
The probe into the hack found North Korea was involved and that there also may be a Chinese link, either through collaboration with Chinese actors or the use of Chinese servers to mask the origin of the attack, an unidentified U.S. official told Reuters. China, in response to Reuters, earlier Friday said it does not support illegal cyberaction committed within its borders.
The North overall has a weak track record when it comes to independently producing electronic components—among the materials needed to commit cyberwarfare, according to analysis of North Korea's cyber-capabilities. North Korea's data infrastructure including servers, routers and fiber links also have a single direction of connection with one neighbor.
"When you look at North Korea, you see singular connectivity to China," said Jason Lancaster, senior intelligence analyst for security research at U.S. tech giant Hewlett-Packard. Lancaster has helped author detailed reports on the North's cyber-landscape that includes relying on China to provide much of the North's network hardware including servers and routers.