N. Korea’s Internet blackout confirmed as US retaliation to Sony hack: US lawmaker

March 18, 2015
Cars enter Sony Pictures Entertainment headquarters in Culver City, Calif. on Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014. The FBI has confirmed it is investigating a recent hacking attack at Sony Pictures Entertainment, which caused major internal computer problems at the film studio last week. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Cars enter Sony Pictures Entertainment headquarters in Culver City, Calif. on Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014. The FBI has confirmed it is investigating a recent hacking attack at Sony Pictures Entertainment, which caused major internal computer problems at the film studio last week. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

By Kim Hyo-jin

North Korea’s Internet blackout was payback for its hacking of Sony Pictures, said a U.S. lawmaker in charge of overseeing cyber security at a Washington-based think tank event, Tuesday.

According to U.S. media, Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, admitted in a series of responses that the North’s Internet was shut down in retaliation for its Sony hack at a cyber security policy event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“There were some cyber responses to North Korea,” McCaul was quoted as saying, referring to the north’s alleged role in Sony hack.

U.S. media reported that when asked if the North Korea internet outage was one of the responses, McCaul said, “Yes.”

Though he stopped short of identifying who was behind the action, it was the first official comment that links the outage to the Sony hack after months of speculation.

North Korea’s Internet was completely disconnected from the outside world for about 10 hours on Dec. 21 and 22.

It came a few days after the U.S. warned of a “proportional response” to North Korea following the Sony hack.

This denial-of-service attack raised suspicions over whether it was a reprisal for the Sony hack, but the U.S. government left those queries unanswered.

In November, a group of hackers broke into the computer networks of Sony Pictures Entertainment and released emails of its senior executives, and personal information about its employees.

They demanded that the “Interview,” a comedy film that portrays the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un not be released.

U.S. President Obama asked the U.S. to respond proportionately to the Sony Hack, referring to it as “cyber vandalism.”

The FBI stood by its conclusion that North Korea was behind the cyber attack despite the reclusive nation strongly denying its involvement.

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