An entrance gate to Sony Pictures Entertainment at the Sony Pictures lot is pictured in Culver City, California April 14, 2013. Reuters/Fred Prouser
The New York Times' Nicole Perlroth writes about an alternate theory emerging around the Sony Pictures hack, which the FBI and the president himself have blamed on North Korea--and which much of the American public now perceives as an "act of war" by North Korea, as John McCain put it.
Computational linguists at Taia Global, a cybersecurity consultancy, performed a linguistic analysis of the hackers’ online messages — which were all written in imperfect English — and concluded that based on translation errors and phrasing, the attackers are more likely to be Russian speakers than Korean speakers.
Such linguistic analysis is hardly foolproof. But the practice, known as stylometry, has been used to contest the authors behind some of history’s most disputed documents, from Shakespearean sonnets to the Federalist Papers.
Shlomo Argamon, Taia’s Global’s chief scientist, said in an interview Wednesday that the research was not a quantitative, computer analysis. Mr. Argamon said he and a team of linguists had mined hackers’ messages for phrases that are not normally used in English and found 20 in total. Korean, Mandarin, Russian and German linguists then conducted literal word-for-word translations of those phrases in each language. Of the 20, 15 appeared to be literal Russian translations, nine were Korean and none matched Mandarin or German phrases.
Mr. Argamon’s team performed a second test of cases where hackers used incorrect English grammar. They asked the same linguists if five of those constructions were valid in their own language. Three of the constructions were consistent with Russian; only one was a valid Korean construction.
“Korea is still a possibility, but it’s much less likely than Russia,” Mr. Argamon said of his findings.
New Study Adds to Skepticism Among Security Experts That North Korea Was Behind Sony Hack [nytimes.com]
Previously on Boing Boing:
• North Korea did not hack Sony, says security researcher
• Schneier on Sony Hack: It's not terrorism or war. We don't know North Korea did it.
• Obama on hack: "Sony made a mistake" in killing 'The Interview'
• Sony to Twitter and media outlets: stop spreading hacked/leaked email contents, or else
Canada’s privacy authorities on Friday said they are investigating New York-based Clearview AI over concerns the facial recognition technology may not comply with Canadian privacy law.
Ethos, the private equity firm owned by Republican billionaires that is trying to buy the rights to operate the internet’s .org domain range, said on Friday it will cap price hikes, and will agree to create an advisory board with veto powers to partly address some of the concerns of the nonprofit community.
Facebook is reportedly considering making it just a wee bit clearer that pro-Bloomberg political campaign posts come from paid staffers on Michael Bloomberg’s political campaign. Yes, 2020 is bonkers.
Whether you’re managing a political campaign or building a client base, there comes a time when you stop seeing people and start seeing numbers. This doesn’t happen suddenly. You shake hands, make calls, and build relationships. And then those relationships disappear into a database of donors or customers as your organization grows. People get brought […]
Learning to ride a bike is one of those quintessential childhood experiences that’s as rewarding as it is scary. Prep your precious babe for success by starting them early with the world’s lightest balance bike, the Brilrider FLIGHT. For the uninitiated, balance bikes are no-pedal bicycles that propel forward by pushing off the ground with […]
With so many advancements in modern society, you’d think we’d have moved beyond the butane lighter by now. A pressurized, flammable gas, butane fumes can irritate your eyes and skin, can elevate your heart rate, and even lead to cardiac arrest. And we did mention that whole highly pressurized and flammable part, right? While certainly […]