Sony hack a 'wake-up call' for US, expert says

North Korea’s hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment is the latest in a series of “very serious wake-up calls” that should encourage the U.S. do more to prepare for a potential attack on its infrastructure or financial services sector, the former director of operations for U.S. Cyber Command said Sunday.


“You've got to invest in a defensible architecture,” Maj. Gen. Brett Williams told ABC News’s “This Week.” “We're still trying to defend the Internet that Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreGOP becoming a cult of know-nothings Man seen with Pelosi lectern on Jan. 6 pleads guilty Judge says Gore, unlike Trump, 'was a man' and accepted election loss MORE and the team built. And it was never designed to be attacked.

“We have to move into something that we can actually effectively defend. And investment needs to be there.”

Williams also said that the U.S. may never know how or when President Obama responds to the attack on Sony, arguing the team preparing options for Obama was currently weighing a series of factors that complicated what options were available.

One major challenge, he said, was that North Korea did not rely on the Internet in the way the U.S. does.

“They aren't as connected,” he said. “And if they aren't as connected, it's much harder to get in.”

Secondly, the U.S. plays “by the rules’ when engaging in a response, and so “has to account for things like sovereignty” and unintended consequences when weighing a response.

“If I'm asked to go in and shut off the power to a military facility, I've got to guarantee you that it's not going to impact the hospital or the bank,” he said. “And so it complicates our problem.”

And, Williams said, U.S. policymakers still hadn’t made tough decisions about “how we integrate cyber into our national security apparatus.”

In an earlier interview with CNN, President Obama vowed to “respond proportionately,” while also acknowledging the challenges cyber attacks could pose in the future.

“We’re going to be in an environment in this new world where so much is digitalized that both state and non-state actors are going to have the capacity to disrupt our lives in all sorts of ways,” Obama said. “We have to do a much better job of guarding against that. We have to treat it like we would treat, you know, the incidence of crime, you know, in our countries.”