US president Barack Obama has looked to an unlikely source of help to stop further alleged cyber attacks from North Korea: his administration has reportedly asked China to take action against the perpetrators.
The FBI claimed on Friday that Norks were behind the massive Sony Pictures' hack, which plunged the struggling film studio into weeks of misery as stolen personal staff and intellectual property documents were leaked online.
China was apparently yet to respond to Obama's request.
Unnamed, senior officials in Washington told the New York Times that cooperation from the People's Republic was key to preventing further alleged hack attacks from North Korea, even though many infosec bods continued to question the plausibility of the FBI's accusations.
Norks run much of their telco operations through Chinese-controlled networks, the NYT reported.
“What we are looking for is a blocking action, something that would cripple their efforts to carry out attacks,” a White House official told the newspaper.
Obama, in a pre-recorded interview with CNN that's expected to air later today, said that the alleged Nork attack on Sony Pictures was not "an act of war".
The US president added:
I think it was an act of cyber vandalism that was very costly, very expensive. We take it very seriously. We will respond proportionately.
He said on Friday that Sony Pictures had made a mistake by cancelling the Christmas Day release of satirical movie The Interview, starring Seth Rogen, which mercilessly mocks North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong Un.
But the film studio's chief hit back at the claim by blaming cinemas for preventing the flick from being shown.
North Korea's National Defense Commission accused the US administration of being "deeply involved" in the making of The Interview in a statement published in the Wall Street Journal today. It apparently added:
Nothing is more serious miscalculation than guessing that just a single movie production company is the target of this counteraction. Our target is all the citadels of the US imperialists.
The commission, overseen by Kim Jong Un, threatened "cyber warfare" action "against the White House, the Pentagon and the whole US mainland."
Pyongyang has denied responsibility for the devastating hack into Sony Pictures' computer systems, but a Nork official did label the attack a "righteous deed". ®