The hackers responsible for the baffling cyber attack on Sony Pictures and the subsequent threats of violence are now planning to attack an unnamed news organization according to a new FBI bulletin. The hackers belonging to the Guardians of Peace (GOP) outfit have seemingly indicated that they will now be turning their eyes on to a news media organization the name of which has not been disclosed.
The Dec 24 bulletin issued by the FBI and the DHS which was posted online by The Intercept said the threats from the hackers have extended to a “news media organization” — and “may extend to other such organizations in the near future.”
An FBI spokesperson while confirming the news however added that the warning issued by them “does not mean there’s any specific evidence of a threat to news organizations. “
“As part of our ongoing public-private partnerships, the FBI and DHS routinely share information with the private sector and law enforcement community,” the official said. “The FBI and DHS are not aware of any specific credible information indicating a threat to entertainment or news organizations, however, out of an abundance of caution, we will continue to disseminate relevant information observed during the course of our investigations.”
According to The Intercept, the bulletin referred to Sony as “USPER1″and the news organization as “USPER2.” The bulletin said the hacker group known as the Guardians of Peace on Dec. 20 posted messages “that specifically taunted the FBI and USPER2 for the ‘quality’ of their investigations and implied an additional threat. No specific consequence was mentioned in the posting.”
Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, told The Intercept that media are often targeted by state-sponsored hackers, as proved by the Syrian Electronic Army. This does further point towards the possibility of North Korean involvement, although sources within Sony (possibly ex-employees) could also have been behind the attack as suggested over the last few weeks.
Kurt Stammberger, senior vice president for market development at cyber intelligence firm Norse, told FoxNews.com that his company has data about the malware samples that point to “super, super detailed insider information” that only a Sony insider would have. He said they were sharing that information with the FBI.
“They were very open” to the new information, Stammberger said.
The newer theory is finding acceptance with an increasing number of cyber security experts looking into the matter now. Though the FBI is not convinced and does not absolve the Hermit Kingdom’s involvement, they have not yet disclosed the evidence they have to link North Korea to the attack.