Obama: Sony-type hacks not acts of war

Obama: Sony-type hacks not acts of war
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President Obama says that cyber attacks such as a recent hack of Sony Pictures that was alleged to have been conducted by North Korea are not acts of war, although he said he takes them very seriously.  

“I wouldn’t consider them acts of war, but I would consider them acts of property damage, commercial theft and whenever a criminal act like that is state-sponsored, it’s a problem,” Obama said in an interview with the online publication re/code.

Obama said it was hard for the administration to protect against cyber attacks that target non-governmental companies. 

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“One of the challenges is a lot of this is private sector; the vast bulk of it is private sector,” he said. “The government has to be able to not only work with each individual company, but you’ve got to be able to pull those companies together so they’re working together more effectively.

“One of the things that makes it such a challenging problem is all you need is one weak link,” Obama continued. “You can have nine companies that have great protocols, authentication systems, you name it, and then you have one that’s not doing a good job and that penetrates the entire system.”

North Korea has denied responsibility for the December 2014 Sony attack, but U.S. authorities believe it was conducted in response to the release of the movie “The Interview,” which depicted the fictional death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. 

Obama said the attacks on Sony could have been even more damaging than they were. 

“It’s not like North Korea is particularly good at this, but look at the damage they can do,” he said. “China and Russia are very good. Iran is good.”