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2014年12月22日 (月)

米映画中止 看過できぬ北のサイバー攻撃

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Unforgivable for North Korean cyber-attack to hamper movie’s release
米映画中止 看過できぬ北のサイバー攻撃

The release of a movie has been sabotaged through a cyber-attack and the issuance of terrorist threats. These acts are a grave challenge against freedom of speech, which we cannot ignore.

Sony Pictures Entertainment, a U.S. movie company under the wing of Sony Corp., has been driven to cancel its release of a comedy film that depicts the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The cancellation was prompted by a massive, crippling attack on servers belonging to the firm and subsequent terrorist threats warning U.S. movie theaters not to screen the movie.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has judged that North Korea’s government is behind the malicious cyber-activity, its decision based on malware and other materials used in the Sony hacking case. Calling the incident one of “the biggest national security threats,” the FBI has condemned the cyber-attack severely, saying, “Such acts of intimidation fall outside the bounds of acceptable state behavior.”

President Barack Obama indicated at a news conference on Friday his intention to retaliate against North Korea, declaring, “I will make a decision on those [who are responsible for the incident] based on what I believe is appropriate and proportional to the nature of this crime.”

What specific step the president has in mind is not yet known, but some have said the United States could launch a cyber-attack targeted at North Korea. Some in Congress are calling for a toughening of U.S. sanctions against the state.

The movie company’s computer system was damaged in the cyber-attack, which occurred in late November, and confidential company data and personal information about its employees, such as their e-mails, were released onto the Internet.

Building up cybercapabilities

In addition to the colossal financial damage suffered by the film company, it is a grave problem that the right of free speech, which the United States values highly, has been threatened.

Sony’s decision to cancel the movie’s release has prompted a barrage of criticism from the U.S. media that it has given in to intimidation. Obama has also said, “I think they made a mistake.” The film company is said to be considering releasing the movie in some other form than distribution in movie theaters.

The U.S. government’s intention to retaliate is understandable.

The movie includes scenes that mock North Korean leader Kim, and in March the Department of Foreign Affairs in North Korea issued a statement saying the movie was “absolutely intolerable.”

North Korea is free to protest against the content of the film, but such actions as illegal, violent cyber-attacks and contemptible terrorist threats against the safety of moviegoers can of course never be tolerated.

Pyongyang recently set up a cyber-operations command, reportedly making efforts to strengthen its offensive capabilities in cyberspace through such measures as developing a corps of hackers.

When South Korea’s financial institutions and TV broadcasters were subjected to cyber-attacks in March 2013, the South Korean government concluded that the attacks were perpetrated by North Korea’s intelligence agents involved in operations against foreign countries.

The cyber-attack against Sony is a threat that could affect Japan.

Centering on the government’s National Information Security Council, enhancements in Japan’s defense capability against cyber-attacks are urgently needed. This nation must also bolster relevant information exchanges and collaborations with such countries as the United States, a nation with highly advanced cybertechnology, as well as South Korea and European countries.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 21, 2014)Speech


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