North Korea denies involvement in 'righteous' Sony hack

State media breaks silence on the Sony hack

North Korea's government has denied any involvement in the attack on Sony Pictures, but in a Sunday statement indicated that it's not necessarily unhappy that it happened.

In a statement, the country's powerful National Defence Commission, which controls North Korea's armed forces, said it had no knowledge of the attack. The network of Sony Pictures was attacked two weeks ago and hackers have subsequently released gigabytes of corporate documents, some containing personal details on employees.

"We do not know where in America the Sony Pictures is situated and for what wrongdoings it became the target of the attack nor we feel the need to know about it," the statement said before turning to Sony's upcoming movie "The Interview," in which two TV interviewers are sent to North Korea on a secret mission to kill leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korea previously complained about the movie, taking its frustration all the way to the United Nations. That's why the country has been seen as potentially responsible for the hack.

"But what we clearly know is that the Sony Pictures is the very one which was going to produce a film abetting a terrorist act while hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK by taking advantage of the hostile policy of the U.S. administration towards the DPRK," it continued, using the preferred Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea official name of the country.

The NDC said it had called on people to campaign against the U.S. and some of those might be responsible.

"The hacking into the Sony Pictures might be a righteous deed of the supporters and sympathizers with the DPRK in response to its appeal," said the statement, which was carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

Investigators are still analyzing the attack and a suspect has yet to be officially named, but that hasn't stopped a good deal of speculation. A previously unknown group called Guardians of Peace has claimed responsibility for the attack. Nothing is known about the group and the claims have been impossible to substantiate.

Elements of the malware used in the attack bear similarities to software used to attack South Korean TV broadcasters and banks last year -- attacks that were blamed on North Korea. That further bolstered the theory that North Korea might be involved.

But some computer security experts say the nature of the hack, with information being leaked online and ultimatums on Sony, bears a stronger resemblance to an activist hacker group.

On Friday, some Sony employees received emails threatening the safety of them and their families, said Variety. Over the weekend, Bloomberg News reported that some of the stolen Sony documents leaked onto the Internet originated from an IP address at the St. Regis Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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Martyn Williams

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