US sanctions North Korea for its role in Sony hack

US sanctions North Korea for its role in Sony hack

Barack Obama today signed an Executive Order imposing sanctions against North Korea following the well-publicized hack of Sony Pictures. The move comes after the "recent cyber-attack targeting Sony Pictures Entertainment and the threats against movie theaters and moviegoers" which the US has pinned on North Korea following FBI investigations.

Although not directly named, the announcement of the sanctions makes clear reference to the movie The Interview which was pulled from theaters following a series of threats. The Executive Order is described as a reaction to attempt to "undermine U.S. cyber-security and intimidate U.S. businesses and artists exercising their right of freedom of speech".


The aim of the sanctions is to isolate entities and individuals that are described as being agents or officials of the North Korean government. Singled out for attention are the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB), North Korea's intelligence agency; Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID); and Korea Tangun Trading Corporation, responsible for defense research and development programs. Ten individuals are also designated under the Executive Order.

The order signed by President Obama increases financial pressure on North Korea, blocks access to the US financial system, and prevents US companies from trading with the country.

Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J Lew said:

Today’s actions are driven by our commitment to hold North Korea accountable for its destructive and destabilizing conduct.  Even as the FBI continues its investigation into the cyber-attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, these steps underscore that we will employ a broad set of tools to defend U.S. businesses and citizens, and to respond to attempts to undermine our values or threaten the national security of the United States.

North Korea continues to deny involvement in the hack, and suggestions have been made that former Sony-employees may have been involved.

Photo credit: PromesaArtStudio / Shutterstock

6 Responses to US sanctions North Korea for its role in Sony hack

  1. sgrandin says:

    Given the virtual unanimous doubts about North Korea's involvement raised by those in the field of cyber security, the hack just looks like an excuse for Obama doing something he wanted to do anyway.

  2. Hall9000 says:

    Ah, the old WMDs trick again. Works every time. Web and Media Distribution of Silliness.
    CNN had one of those unforgettable moments. Maybe it was Blitzer doing the interview of the the head of the cyber security company that said North Korea wasn't necessarily responsible for that attack. In fact he said that the FBI had no proof of it. So, Blitzer said that the information that that cyber security company had didn't prove the FBI wrong. To which the reply was how could the FBI say that since it hadn't yet received the data from that company! Of course Blitzer completely ignore that statement! Mind you, it could be an other interviewer but still it was on CNN.

  3. bugballou says:

    I think you got this one wrong Barry...but it is another eye opener when related to what our governments top priorities are. I guess it is a good thing that they toned down the assassination scene in The Interview, or so the story goes. I didn't realize they actually deep-sixed the dude, damn.

  4. rob h says:

    this whole hacking was nothing more than a publicity stunt to get people to go see a funny but not great movie...

  5. Bob Grant says:

    I seriously doubt that NK had any direct or even indirect association with the hack, except to receive blame. Not saying that the sanctions are wrong to have, they should've been in place long ago. (if they weren't)

    The thing is, if they're really wanting to catch the actual hackers, they need to not place the blame on a scapegoat, as that just allows the actual culprits to run free. This might be what they want, as the hackers may be in their employ already.

  6. Tom says:

    ɱy roomate's step-sister makes $78 every hour on the computer . She has been out of a job for eight months but last month her pay check was $13071 just working on the computer for a few hours. look at here;.­S­ee m­o­­re­.

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