Report: U.S. planning “proportional response” to Sony hack, blamed on North Korea

“We can't allow a hacker gap!”


“Gentlemen! No fighting in the war room!” A scene from Kubrick's classic war farce, Dr. Strangelove.

One day ahead of an expected announcement by U.S. officials that North Korea is responsible for the devastating hack on Sony Pictures, CNN reports that federal investigators have evidence that “hackers stole the computer credentials of a system administrator to get access to Sony's computer system.”

This finding is one of a number of reasons that U.S. officials don't believe the massive Sony breach was an inside job.

The government is expected to “blame and shame” North Korea for the incident as early as Friday. The hackers’ ability to access passwords of a top-level information technology employee granted "keys to the entire building," said one official.

Above, one possible response.

Other options include "cyber retaliation or financial sanctions" against the totalitarian regime of Kimm Jong-Un. Cyber retaliation!

A security guard stands at the entrance of United Artists theater during the premiere of the film


A security guard stands at the entrance of United Artists theater during the premiere of the film “The Interview” in Los Angeles, California December 11, 2014.
[REUTERS]

More from CNN:

A senior administration official said the White House did not pressure Sony to make the decision it announced Wednesday to pull the movie "The Interview" -- which depicts the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un -- from theaters.

"There was no pressure. Absolutely not," the official said, adding that consultations with Sony happened primarily in phone calls between the company and the FBI which were relayed to the White House.

For all the restrictions the United States has already placed on North Korea, administration officials say there's a lot further those penalties could go. The toughest option: The United States could restrict North Korea's dollar-denominated trade by hitting Chinese banks that do business with Pyongyang -- a tactic used against Iran and, less comprehensively, against Russia after its incursion into Ukraine's Crimea region.

Other economic sanctions could also be considered, and the United States could finger North Korean individuals involved in the hack for criminal charges -- though that option, while still being considered, appears unlikely, an administration official said.

"At this point we are not prepared to official say who we believe was behind this attack," Homeland Security Jeh Johnson told MSNBC on Thursday. "I will say this: We do regard the attack on Sony as very serious."

Sony Pictures has made it clear that there are absolutely no plans to release "The Interview" in any form, ever. The $44 million film starring Seth Rogen and James Franco is to blame for this whole mess.

Also today, news that movie theaters are also wussing out on screening “Team America: World Police.”

Three movie houses called off special screenings of 2004 Paramount Pictures puppet-comedy "Team America: World Police" in which a U.S. paramilitary force tries to foil a plot by then-North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, father of Kim Jong Un.

The Alamo Drafthouse in Texas scrapped the screening because of "circumstances beyond our control," while the Ohio-based Capitol Theatre and the Plaza in Atlanta said their screenings were canceled by Paramount.

My fellow countrypersons, now is the time to torrent both films, and maybe Dr. Strangelove, too, and organize home viewing parties for freedom.

"Official: U.S. will respond to North Korea" [CNN]

"Washington weighs response to Sony hack; options limited" [Reuters]

People attend a mass rally against "U.S. Imperialists" at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang in this undated photo released June 25, 2014. REUTERS/KCNA


People attend a mass rally against "U.S. Imperialists" at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang in this undated photo released June 25, 2014. REUTERS/KCNA