U.S. officials are saying the hackers who orchestrated an attack on Sony Entertainment were acting on orders from the North Korean government, NBC News reported.
“We have found linkage to the North Korean government,” one government source told NBC.
CNN reported that the U.S. could make an official announcement concerning the alleged connection on Thursday.
The reports of a possible connection between North Korea and the hackers’ actions against Sony came shortly after the company announced it would cancel the release of the satirical comedy The Interview, a James Franco and Seth Rogen film that depicts an assassination attempt against the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un.
Five major U.S. theater chains dropped plans to screen the film, following threats against moviegoers by a group calling itself the “Guardians for Peace,” which claimed responsibility for the cyber-attack against Sony last month.
The “Guardians” hacked Sony again earlier this month, threatening to harm company employees and their families.
North Korean officials have argued that they are not linked to the attack. Wired magazine reported earlier in the day on Wednesday that evidence suggesting a government link to the Sony incident was circumstantial.
“This is likely a group of various actors who coalesce and disperse, as the Anonymous hackers did, based on their common interests,” Wired reported. “But even with that said, there is another possibility with regard to the Sony hack: that the studio’s networks weren’t invaded by a single group but by many, some with political interests at heart and others bent on extortion. Therefore, we can’t rule out the possibility that nation-state attackers were also in Sony’s network.”
Watch a report on the hack, as posted online by NBC News, below.