The White House has said the cyber attack on Sony is a serious national security matter and it is considering a proportional response, but it refused to blame North Korea for the attack despite US officials earlier saying their investigation did link North Korea to the attack.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the cyber attack on Sony was a "destructive activity with malicious intent that was initiated by a sophisticated actor," however, he said that he could not say North Korea was responsible, instead said the investigation was progressing. Earlier, President Barack Obama said the cyber attack was very serious, but recommended that "people go to the movies".
Earnest said US will need "a proportional response," but warned that people carrying out these attacks are "often seeking to provoke a response," saying that the people involved "may believe that a response from us in one fashion or another would be advantageous to them" by enhancing their standing either among their cohorts or on the international stage.
Defectors have warned that the Sony attack could just be a warm up, and that North Korea has a long-term goal of building cyber-warfare capabilities. Obsessed by fears that it will be over-run by South Korea and the United States, a defector said "North Korea's ultimate goal in cyber strategy is to be able to attack national infrastructure of South Korea and the United States."
In a secret government department called "Bureau 121", defectors have said North Korea has been pouring resources in an attempt to create a sophisticated cyber-warfare group of talented computer experts. South Korea blamed North Korea for a cyber attack on its banks and broadcasters in 2013 which froze the computer systems, it said the cyber-attacks is an emerging threat.
Hackers, calling themselves "Guardians of Peace," broke into Sony systems and stole data, then demanded Sony withdraws the movie, The Interview, from distribution. The movie is controversial because it features a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Sony caved in to the hackers' demands after the group leaked the personal details of current and former employees.