NSA chief: Sony hack a 'red line' for US

It was critical for the U.S. to publicly denounce North Korea's role the cyberattack on Sony, National Security Agency (NSA) Director Adm. Michael Rogers said Thursday.

“Sony is important to me because the entire world is watching how we as a nation are going to respond to this,” Rogers said at a cybersecurity conference at the Fordham University School of Law, Time reported. “If we don’t name names here, it will only encourage others to decide, ‘Well this must not be a red line for the United States.' ”

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Amid doubts from the cybersecurity community, the FBI accused North Korea of sponsoring the digital assault on Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Apparently, the attack was revenge for Sony’s controversial comedy, “The Interview,” about an American plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Hackers shut down the movie studio’s computer system, released troves of stolen internal documents and made violent threats against any theater screening the film, causing Sony to nearly cancel its Christmas Day release.

After accusing the East Asian regime of backing the hackers, the White House imposed a new set of economic sanctions, initially targeting North Korean arms dealers. Officials have said the move is one part of a response to the cyber incident.

Rogers backed the White House on its first move.

“Merely because something happens to us in the cyber arena, doesn’t mean that our response has to be focused in the cyber arena,” Rogers said. “I was very happy to see what we as a nation-state decided to do.”

Rogers believes the government must come to the defense of the private sector in the cyber arena.

“I don’t think it’s realistic” for companies “to deal with [cyberattacks] totally by themselves,” he said.

Individual companies hitting back with cyberattacks against foreign governments only risks “fratricide,” Rogers said. Government are better suited to tailor responses that don’t escalate back-and-forth cyberattacks.

As fellow U.S. officials have done throughout the week, Rogers also defended the evidence tying North Korea to the Sony hack. The NSA reviewed the malware used by the hackers and helped determine its connection to the reclusive country.

“I remain very confident: This was North Korea,” he said.