Investigators in the U.S. looking into the Sony Pictures hacking believe that North Korea hired hackers to wage the cyberattack.
A group called "Guardians of Piece" or GOP claimed responsibility for the hacking, which compromised employee data such as salary, performance review, emails and likely creative content. The hackers also erased the hard drives.
According to a Reuters report, it is believed that the hackers were hired from outside North Korea to aid in the cyberattack on Sony Pictures on Nov. 24. The cyberattack was likely "contracted out" as North Korea itself "lacks" the ability to carry out some of the elements required in the attack.
Even as officials investigate as to whether North Korea recruited contractors from outside. The FBI stands firm on its stance that the country was the orchestrator of the Sony Pictures attack.
"The FBI has concluded the Government of North Korea is responsible for the theft and destruction of data on the network of Sony Pictures Entertainment," said the FBI to Reuters in a statement.
GOP has claimed that the Sony Pictures movie "The Interview," which poked fun at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, provoked the group into the act. North Korea has refuted any claims that it was behind the attack on Sony Pictures. In the event the U.S. strikes back, the country says it will retaliate.
However, based on the evidence presented by the FBI, some cyber experts in the U.S. differ and opine that North Korea is not behind the attack. They believe that the evidence is not sufficient to point fingers at North Korea.
"It's clear to us, based on both forensic and other evidence we've collected, that unequivocally they are not responsible for orchestrating or initiating the attack on Sony," noted Sam Glines, who runs the cybersecurity company Norse.
Even though the FBI asserts that the code used by GOP in the Sony Pictures hacking is similar to those deployed by North Korea in other hacking incidents, these codes have been leaked long ago and any cybercriminal located in any part of the world could have used it to wreak havoc.