• Seriously? NSA Knew North Korea Hacked Sony Because it Hacked North Korea First

    January 20, 2015

    Tags: ,
    Posted in: Post-Constitution America


    What’s wrong with this picture?

    We all famously know the U.S. government directly blamed North Korea for the Sony hack, allegedly in retaliation for the sad Seth Rogen “comedy” The Interview. Serious questions arose almost immediately about how the U.S. could be so sure it was the boys from Pyongyang at fault, and not some outside hacking group pretending to be North Korea, or a disgruntled Sony insider. After all, the initial contacts between the hacker and Sony (below) mentioned nothing about The Interview, and of course, even after the movie was released, nothing happened.

    Snowden Docs Suggest an Answer

    According to new Edward Snowden documents published by der Spiegel and others, the source of the U.S. government’s confidence may be simple: the NSA claims to have inserted malware into North Korea’s computer systems in 2010, years before the hack even happened, creating backdoor access. The malware was targeted specifically at North Korea’s own hackers, not necessarily the government their per se. The NSA was watching North Korea’s geeks the whole time.

    So Where was the NSA?

    Assuming that U.S. malware tale is true, it begs the question: if the NSA had such broad access to North Korean hacking resources, why didn’t they know about the Sony hack and warn the company? It seems unlikely that the North Koreans just plopped down one day and zoomed into Sony’s networks, hoovering up the mass of data someone got a hold of.

    It appears that whoever hacked into Sony took their time. The New York Times reports the first step was a simple “spear phishing” attack on Sony, the use of emails that insert malicious code into a computer system if an unknowing user clicks on a link. This took place in early September 2014. The intruders then stole the credentials of a Sony systems administrator, which allowed them to roam freely inside Sony’s systems. Investigators have concluded that the hackers spent more than two months, from mid-September to mid-November, mapping Sony’s computer systems, identifying critical files and planning how to destroy computers and servers. The damage only began on November 24.


    One counter-argument offered is that the NSA did not want to disclose their access into North Korea over something as small as Sony. The response is quite obvious. All that needed to be done is for someone to make a quick call to Sony and say “Hey, don’t ask who I am or how I know, but you might want to take a look at XYZ on your network. Bye!” Like the way the NSA uses the FBI and DEA as cut outs to pass data to local law enforcement, nobody at the receiving end knows how or why the lucky information fell into their laps.

    Another counter-argument is that the NSA was focused on protecting U.S. government systems and did not see anything all that important about Sony. The first thing wrong with the idea is that one of NSA’s stated missions is cybersecurity for the U.S. as a whole, not just Federal systems. The other argument is that if Sony being hacked was just not that big a deal, the rest of the U.S. government sure acted like it was. And all over a movie.

    So Seriously, Where was the NSA?

    So where was the NSA? With claimed access directly into North Korea’s systems, access that made attributing the Sony hack post-facto a supposed slam dunk, where was the NSA when it came to stopping the attack? This question is the one looming over the entire world-wide spying operation the NSA has become, given its stated purpose of protecting things. Where was the NSA ahead of the Boston Bombings? Ahead of the attacks in France? Ahead of all the shootings and lone wolves wandering around America? Ahead of the much more financially-damaging hacks against the credit card processing systems of Target and Home Depot?

    The question remains thus begged: if all the money spent, and civil liberties shunted aside, in the name of protection, doesn’t protect us when it matters, then what is the point of the NSA?

    We’ll call that a rhetorical question.

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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Forget about preventing the next 9-11, the NSA is so overwhelmed with analyzing useless (our)data that it can only use its spy capability for postmortem analysis.

      01/20/15 2:27 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      The NSA like the Pentagon with its beribboned gangsters has the same shakedown scam. We taxpayers pay protection money to both only to end up in deeper peril, whereas they can demand more protection money. Bill Murray should be head of HS since it’s Groundhog Day from here on out.

      01/20/15 2:29 PM | Comment Link

    • Helen Marshall said...


      From what I have read, it’s pretty clear that the Sony hack was not the work of North Korea. But very handy for the USG to say so.

      01/20/15 6:47 PM | Comment Link

    • Helen Marshall said...


      From a piece by Nebojsa Malic on Antiwar, about the attackers in Paris:

      “It is said, however, that they were known to the authorities as terrorist suspects and were under extensive surveillance. How, then, were they able to carry out the attacks? Either the omnipresent surveillance doesn’t really work, and the security services are criminally incompetent – or the terrorists were allowed to do this because it served someone’s agenda. Both conclusions are uncomfortable, so the mainstream [media] desperately tries to avoid them.”

      01/20/15 6:51 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Meanwhile..another expert says the USG has it’s head up it’s ass..


      perhaps, it was NSA all along, hmmm? Perfect.

      01/20/15 8:15 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Helen Marshall said…

      quote”Either the omnipresent surveillance doesn’t really work, and the security services are criminally incompetent – or the terrorists were allowed to do this because it served someone’s agenda.” unquote

      Notwithstanding Paris, in regards to the NSA I’ll take #1.

      Now..let’s try DOLTS for $2k

      01/20/15 8:17 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      On a side note… As if I didn’t already know by 15 years old, there was something fundamentally fucked up between the dialog that the schools were teaching me and what I was seeing with my own eyes. Even at 7 years old, somehow..things weren’t adding up. Today..I found out why. ..




      Tonight, Obama will try to justify tax increases on the rich during his SOTU.

      Those links should tell you why he’s delusional.

      01/21/15 1:42 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Pitch -I’ll riff on Biblical folklore to offer advice I give myself daily.

      Holy Bible (Wallstreet Edition) – Book of Buffett

      Speaking to the middle class: “Do not concern yourself
      with the rich for they shall always be with you. Instead, tend to your own kind for they will not long be at your side.”

      01/21/15 1:07 PM | Comment Link

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