The FBI is continuing to blame North Korea for last year’s brutal attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, despite hesitancy from cybersecurity experts to apportion blame.
Hackers reportedly behind the attack, the Guardians of Peace, have been labelled sloppy by the bureau’s director James Comey, who told a news conference that they had failed to use proxy servers to hide their identity.
"The Guardians of Peace would send emails threatening Sony employees and post online various statements explaining their work. In nearly every case they would use proxy servers in sending those emails and posting those statements," he said.
"But several times they got sloppy. Several times, either because they forgot or they had a technical problem, they connected directly and we could see it."
He added that the IP addresses the FBI tracked were "exclusively used by North Koreans", and that the hackers would shut off the addresses quickly once they realised the mistake.
North Korea has repeatedly denied responsibility for the attack, but has praised the hackers’ work because of a disagreement over the Sony film The Interview, a comedy about an assassination plot against North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
Cybersecurity experts have repeatedly questioned the judgement of the FBI and US government in blaming the Asian state for the hack, with many claiming a misleading trail may have been left to encourage such a conclusion.
Research from Taia Global, a security firm, led to firm to conclude that "Sony’s attackers were most likely Russian, possibly but not likely Korean and definitely not Mandarin Chinese or German".