Cyber attacks similar to the recent major breach of Sony Pictures' computer networks, with which North Korea was allegedly involved, may be expected in future, computer security experts say.
Sony’s comedy “The Interview” makes fun of a fictional CIA plot to assassinate North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, using two bumbling American reporters who were granted a rare interview with the reclusive dictator.
North Korean officials complained about the film to the United Nations in July, but the hacking didn't start until late November. Films were stolen and released, and private company emails were made public. The hack has cost Sony millions and forced the entertainment giant to cancel release of the film.
But what could be more damaging, said George Smith, senior fellow for Globalsecurity.org, are the vulnerabilities in the Internet itself.
“How many stories have we had in the last couple of weeks on things of this nature? The Sony one has dominated the news, but a month prior to that there was the news of the banks [JPMorgan Chase and other institutions], and earlier in the week there was a story how the Sands Casino network ... was heavily compromised, allegedly by hackers sympathetic to Iran,” he said.
Smith said it is very difficult to secure a global business like Sony. He said networks are now so complex, even the people responsible for their security aren't quite sure how to move forward.
“It’s going to continue the way it has," he said. "There’s no visible trend on the horizon that sees this improving, OK? But people become used to it.”
Other experts, such as John Morley of the technology company JMORE Connection, think the only solution is to stay ahead of potential hackers.
“The technology keeps changing," Morley said. "If you’re not updating your firmware and making sure that your firewall stays current, and the company you are using is not updating its technology, you'd better find another firewall company.”
Morley said there is some evidence the Sony hackers had inside help, and the government officials agree.
George Putic contributed to this report from Washington