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North Korea Wants Joint Probe on Sony Hack Attack
From the Wall Street Journal of Sat, 20 Dec 2014 13:03:45 EST
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un greets people at a Pyongyang textile mill in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency on Saturday. Dec. 20, 2014.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un greets people at a Pyongyang textile mill in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency on Saturday. Dec. 20, 2014. Reuters

SEOUL—North Korea on Saturday said it could prove it had no links with the recent Sony Pictures hacking attack and proposed to conduct a joint probe with the U.S., after Washington warned it could retaliate.

A statement released through North Korea’s state media also denied Pyongyang’s involvement in all other hacking attacks attributed to it, which in recent years have temporarily paralyzed South Korean and U.S. government websites as well as servers of South Korean broadcasters and banks.

“The U.S. accusing us of crime with rudimentary ‘investigation results’ exposes its inherent hostility toward us,” North Korea said about the Sony attack in the statement, attributed to an unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesman.

Sony Pictures in November suffered a digital intrusion, followed by a leak of sensitive internal data, including private information of celebrities as well as executives’ correspondences. The hackers identified themselves as a previously unknown group called “Guardians of Peace.

U.S. investigators blame Pyongyang for the attack, which cybersecurity experts said shared tactics with previous breaches attributed to North Korea, including shared codes inside malicious software.

The studio this week canceled the planned release of “The Interview,” a raunchy film about a fictional assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, after the hackers threatened a “September 11-like” attack on theaters.

Pyongyang has previously demanded joint probes after attacks on South Korea that Seoul has blamed on it. They include the sinking of a South Korean naval warship in 2010 near the inter-Korean maritime border, which an international investigation attributed to a North Korean torpedo attack. Seoul rejected the call for a joint probe by North Korea in that attack, for which Pyongyang denied responsibility.

North Korea’s statement also said that the U.S. will face “serious consequences” if it rejects North Korea’s proposal and retaliates against the country. North Korea’s threats are often exaggerated but occasionally its warnings against South Korea were followed up with military actions.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Seoul said she couldn’t immediately provide comment.

Write to Jeyup S. Kwaak at jeyup.kwaak@wsj.com



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