FBI accuses North Korea of hack

The FBI officially blamed North Korea in the cyberattack that has devastated Sony Pictures Entertainment, damaging the studio’s reputation, costing it millions of dollars and causing it to cancel the release of its controversial comedy, “The Interview.”

The attack is unprecedented, the FBI said in a release.

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“The destructive nature of this attack, coupled with its coercive nature, sets it apart.”

The hack has been referred to as the first successful, large-scale destructive cyberattack on a U.S. company (Sony Pictures Entertainment is an American subsidy of a Japanese multinational conglomerate, Sony). The hackers not only stole data, but permanently deleted files on Sony’s servers. They later threatened 9/11-style attacks on any theater that screened “The Interview,” which depicts a fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The FBI confirmed rampant speculation that the attack’s methods tied it back to the reclusive East Asian regime.

“Technical analysis of the data deletion malware used in this attack revealed links to other malware that the FBI knows North Korean actors previously developed,” the bureau said in a release.

“The FBI also observed significant overlap between the infrastructure used in this attack and other malicious cyber activity the U.S. government has previously linked directly to North Korea,” it said.

Specifically, the FBI linked the tools used in the Sony hit to a round of North Korean cyberattacks on South Korean bands and media companies in March 2013.

While the bureau stopped short of calling the action a terrorist attack or act of war — as many lawmakers have over the past few days — it did have strong words for Pyongyang.

“North Korea’s actions were intended to inflict significant harm on a U.S. business and suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves,” the FBI said. “Such acts of intimidation fall outside the bounds of acceptable state behavior.”