Obama vows U.S. response to North Korea over Sony cyber attack

Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:52pm EST
 
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By Steve Holland and Matt Spetalnick

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama vowed on Friday to respond to a devastating cyber attack on Sony Pictures that he blamed on North Korea, and scolded the Hollywood studio for caving in to what he described as a foreign dictator imposing censorship in America.

Obama said the cyber attack caused a lot of damage to Sony but that the company should not have let itself be intimidated into halting the public release of "The Interview," a lampoon portraying the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"We will respond," Obama told an end-of-year news conference. "We'll respond proportionally, and we'll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose."

Earlier, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced it had determined that North Korea was behind the hacking of Sony, saying Pyongyang's actions fell "outside the bounds of acceptable state behavior."

Obama said North Korea appeared to have acted alone. Washington began consultations with Japan, China, South Korea and Russia seeking their assistance in reining in North Korea.

It was the first time the United States had directly accused another country of a cyber attack of such magnitude on American soil and set up a possible new confrontation between longtime foes Washington and Pyongyang.

The destructive nature of the attack, and threats from the hackers that led the Hollywood studio to pull the movie, set it apart from previous cyber intrusions, the FBI said.

A North Korean diplomat at the United Nations in New York said Pyongyang had nothing to do with the cyber attack. "DPRK (North Korea) is not part of this," the diplomat told Reuters.   Continued...

 
U.S. President Barack Obama responds to a question after his end of the year press conference in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, December 19, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing