As Sony Pictures looks for a possible North Korea link to a cyberattack, there's a nagging question. Does the poor country even have advanced technology capabilities to infiltrate a large corporation?
The answer is yes. The isolated, communist nation has been pursuing cyber-strategies as far back as the 1980s. North Korea more recently has targeted a bank, university and media websites, according to prosecutors. The rogue state possesses drones and electronic warfare tools to create digital quiet zones. The regime also nurtures and trains its brightest to become cyberterrorists—based in North Korea and possibly even China.
"North Korea has the capabilities to penetrate the computers of an organization like Sony Pictures," said Bruce Bennett, senior defense analyst at the Rand Corp.
Sony Pictures, a unit of Sony, is investigating whether North Korea is behind a cyberattack that knocked out the studio's computer network last week. The breach leaked several new movies online including the upcoming "Annie."
The cyberattack comes about a month before Sony Pictures was scheduled to release "The Interview." The comedy is about two journalists who secure an interview with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and the CIA, in turn, tasks the duo with assassinating Kim.
There has been no response yet from North Korea on the Sony Pictures hack. However, in comments attributed to the state-run Korean Central News Agency in June, North Koreans threatened a "merciless" response against the U.S. unless it bans "The Interview." Officials called the film an "act of war."