Was the Sony hack a test run?

The cyberattack on Sony Pictures could be a dry run for a destructive cyber campaign against telecom and energy companies by North Korea, Reuters reported on Friday.

“North Korea’s ultimate goal in cyber strategy is to be able to attack national infrastructure of South Korea and the United States," Kim Heung-kwang, a former North Korean computer science professor, told Reuters. Kim said he is still in contact with communities in his home country, which he left in 2004.


The U.S. government is expected to soon identify North Korea as being behind the attack on Sony, which has caused the movie studio significant embarrassment and financial losses.

The hackers stole large amounts of sensitive data from the movie studio and threatened to keep leaking it, until the studio pulled its comedy, “The Interview,” about a plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

After the hacking group upped the ante by threatening Sept. 11-style attacks on any theater screening the film, Sony decided to axe the Christmas Day release.

Many analysts have attributed the attack to an elite cyber unite in North Korea called Bureau 121.

“They have trained themselves by launching attacks related to electronic networks," Jang Se-yul, a North Korean defector told Reuters. Jang studied at North Korea’s military college for computer sciences.

Some fear the cyber offensive targeting Sony is one of those training exercises.

North Korea was widely blamed for a series of 2013 attacks on South Korean media outlets and financial companies that closely resembled the Sony hit.

“The ultimate target that they have been aiming at for long is infrastructure,” Jang said.