Leading Democratic congressman wants to bring back CISPA

Dutch Ruppersberger, a U.S. congressman for Maryland and a top-level Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, plans to revive the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) this Friday, The Hill reported. The move comes in response to the hack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, which the FBI has been blaming on North Korea. Although the bill, a source of contention for privacy advocates when it was first introduced, was passed by the US House of Representatives in 2012, the Senate decided to not vote on it in 2013. “The reason I’m putting bill in now is I want to keep the momentum going on what’s happening out there in the world,” Ruppersberger told the The Hill.

FBI: North Korea “got sloppy” with IP addresses in Sony hack

The FBI continued to insist Wednesday that North Korea was responsible for hacking Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Associated Press reported. FBI Director James Comey said at a New York cybersecurity conference that North Korea “got sloppy” when it attempted to use proxy servers that would mask the attacks.

Apparently, North Korea forgot to conceal some of its activities with the proxy servers, which resulted in the FBI discovering messages that were linked to IP addresses that North Korea “exclusively used,” Comey said.

When North Korea realized it made a mistake, it rectified the situation, but Comey said it was too late and the FBI “saw where it was coming from,” reported Wired.

The Sony data breach is also linked to North Korean-developed malware, which the isolated nation supposedly used to break into South Korean banks last year, he said.

While Comey shared a few more tidbits into the [company]Sony[/company] hack, he was hesitant to go into greater detail on how exactly the U.S. was able to pinpoint North Korea as the culprit beyond what he said because the U.S. has to “preserve our methods and sources.”

This will undoubtedly not please the security experts who have been raising concerns about the U.S. government’s story that North Korea was responsible, claiming the little evidence the FBI has shown so far does not prove its case. Security firm Norse Corp. recently showed the FBI its own forensics on the Sony hack, which the FBI reportedly brushed aside.

Addressing the skeptics, Comey said during the cybersecurity conference, “They don’t have the facts I have.”

Again, this seems to be a “take us at our word” situation with the FBI holding the details and releasing the occasional nugget of information to appease naysayers. It’s safe to say there’s been no smoking gun released so far.

Citing cybercrime, Obama unloads sanctions on North Korea

The United States is laying down additional economic sanctions on North Korea courtesy of an executive order issued by President Obama on Friday. The sanctions come in response to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s decision to blame North Korea for the colossal hack against Sony Pictures Entertainment.

As part of the executive order, the U.S. Department of the Treasury singled out three North Korean entities, including the North Korean intelligence agency known as the Reconnaissance General Bureau, and ten individuals as “being agencies or officials of the North Korean government,” according to a U.S. Department of the Treasury announcement on the sanctions.

Among the ten individuals the Treasure Department lists are several North Korean government officials who represent the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation, North Korea’s arms dealer, in countries including Iran, Russia and Syria.

“Today’s actions are driven by our commitment to hold North Korea accountable for its destructive and destabilizing conduct,” said Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew in the announcement.

The sanctions are the latest to hit North Korea, whose rogue behavior (on nuclear testing, for example) has earned multiple economic sanctions from the U.S. (and other countries) in recent years.

What makes these new sanctions stand out is the fact that they are attributed to North Korea’s alleged large-scale data breach as opposed to more common reasons for economic sanctions like human rights violations or war crimes.

While the U.S. has been gung-ho in saying North Korea is to blame for devastating [company]Sony[/company], several security experts have been disputing the FBI’s claims. The FBI has reportedly been meeting with security companies to discuss the possibility that North Korea was not responsible, but apparently the bureau has not been swayed with what it’s hearing.

The Daily Beast reported that security firm Norse Corp. recently presented to the FBI its own findings into the Sony hack that supposedly debunked claims that North Korea helmed the attack; the FBI apparently waved it off.

“They basically said thanks a lot and shook our hands and took off,” Kurt Stammberger, a Norse senior vice president, told The Daily Beast.

Sony: 2 million people have streamed The Interview

Over 2 million people have purchased or rented The Interview since it started streaming on December 24th, according to an announcement from Sony Pictures Entertainment (via Business Insider.)

The Interview raked in $15 million in online sales through Saturday night, which is five times larger than the $2.8 million weekend box office generated by the film’s limited release in 331 independent theaters.

The slapstick farce about North Korea starring James Franco and Seth Rogen is available from YouTube, Google Play, Xbox Video, and Sony’s own website. It costs $14.99 to buy and $5.99 to rent.

Apple also started selling The Interview on the iTunes store on Sunday. Its newfound availability on iTunes will make it easier for people with an Apple TV to watch the movie — previously, users had to purchase the movie on a computer or phone before watching it on their [company]Apple[/company] TV.

For a dumb comedy, The Interview has certainly had a tumultuous route to wide release. After a large cache of [company]Sony Pictures[/company] documents and emails was leaked, the movie had its release plans temporarily cancelled because of vague fears that North Korea could attack theaters in retribution for an unflattering portrayal of Kim Jong-un. Experts remain deeply divided about whether North Korea was involved with the Sony Pictures breach.

Because The Interview was officially released online before it opened in a limited number of theaters, many are closely watching its progress because it could be a bellwether for future “day and date” releases.

Last week, Variety reported that Netflix is “in talks” to stream The Interview, too.


The movie is still being promoted on social media. Twitter pushed a notification to its users on iOS and Android suggesting they follow Seth Rogen ahead of a planned live-tweeting of the film on Sunday.