North Korea may be emboldened by hack response: Director of National Intelligence

James Clapper
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The cyberattacks against Sony have offered North Korea "global recognition at a low cost with no consequences," according to U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

The recognition from the cyberattacks will make the North Koreans more likely to commit similar acts in the future, Clapper said on Wednesday at the International Conference on Cyber Security in New York. The U.S. did impose new sanctions on several of the country's organizations and officials, but several experts told CNBC that these measures will likely have little effect.

Clapper called the attack against Sony Pictures the most serious such attack ever against U.S. interests. He said the private sector needs to patch software holes and segment data to protect against further attacks. He also said the cyberthreat from Russia is particularly sophisticated.

Clapper also remarked that U.S. infrastructure could be vulnerable to cyberattack if there were to be a military conflict with Russia.

—Reuters and CNBC's Eamon Javers contributed to this report.