In Another Meaningless Gesture, Administration Smacks North Korea With Sanctions Over Sony Hack
from the US Government steadies finger, points dept
Never doubt the power of motion picture studios. The US government is moving ahead with plans to smack around North Korea for the Sony Pictures hack. That this is seemingly based on nothing more than a strong hunch by the FBI doesn’t seem to matter. The wheels are rolling and the scapegoat will be properly chastised.
Symbolic actions and symbolic words are being handed down by the administration, under the unlikely moniker of “a proportionate response.” Sanctions are being levied against ten North Korean officials, even as other unnamed administration officials admit there’s no evidence those named were behind the attacks in any form. Let’s all enjoy this quote, which shows the US government is willing to defend the honor of Sony Pictures even at the expense of its own reputation.
“It’s a first step,” one of the officials said. “The administration felt that it had to do something to stay on point. This is certainly not the end for them.”
There you have it. There will be more symbolic stupidity in the future, if only for consistency’s sake. The next question is: if the goal is to deliver a knockout blow, how effective are continued head punches when the target has already lost consciousness?
The actions may well turn out to be more symbolic than substantive: North Korea already faces some of the heaviest sanctions of any country.
The North Korean government doesn’t really care if more sanctions are handed down. It hasn’t made many attempts to ingratiate itself with the US. It is resolutely its own evil empire and appears to be happy being one of the world’s villains.
Once you get beyond the futile administrative shouting, there’s the reality of the situation: there’s really not much evidence pointing to North Korea’s involvement in the Sony hack. So, even if the sanctions are effective, they’re likely misguided.
The link between the hacking and the North Korean government’s public damnation of “The Interview” is extremely tenuous. The hackers behind the attack never linked their actions to the film until after the press did. Additional information points in various directions, but nothing directly at the North Korean government. The evidence the FBI was willing to part with only indicates that the malware used resembles malware used in previous NK hackings — which is really just saying malware that works well tends to resemble other malware that works well. It’s not a smoking gun. It’s not even a gun in a safe with the clip removed. It’s a finger in a coat pocket — something that only looks slightly dangerous/damning when hidden, but completely ridiculous when out in the open.
But the US government has decided North Korea is to blame and the North Korean government is only too happy to alternate between evil empire and unfairly besmirched world citizen. The question is: who is the administration scoring points for by pursuing sanctions against an entity that hacked a private corporation? Even if the administration is privy to information that definitively indicates North Korea’s involvement, why is it throwing its weight behind an incident that was more embarrassing than damaging? Countless American businesses have been hacked over the past several years, leaving millions of Americans’ personal information exposed… and little to no response from the US government. But spring loose a few thousand internal emails dealing with celebrity squabbling, MPAA/state AG collusion and other internal issues, and suddenly, it’s time for America to go to (cyber)war.