The consensus reporting last week that North Korea is behind the Sony hack congealed into accepted fact with Friday’s public naming of the North Koreans by the Obama administration, but I’m still not convinced.
Usual caveats: yes Virginia, North Korea is evil. Yes, they could very well be involved. But there continues to be a disturbing lack of detailed, on-the-ground reporting from major news outlets about the fine points of the source of the hack, although the mechanism of the hack itself is trivial and well understood. The best stuff I’m seeing continues to be on a blog called “North Korea Tech,” the author having taken on the distinctly unglamorous (but as it turns out, very necessary) task of sorting what North Korea has and doesn’t have, does and doesn’t do. It’s weirdly compelling reading.
His latest post, up this morning, makes the case for continued caution in blaming North Korea, perforce, for the hack. I think it’s fair to say he rates North Korea’s involvement a strong maybe, no more. Key point:
Based on what’s been made public, there doesn’t appear to be enough to convict North Korea without a shadow of doubt. Of course, the FBI likely has a lot more information that it hasn’t made public, but we haven’t see that.
The waters are particularly muddy in this case because so much of the incident, from the emails to reporters to the leaking of data and taunting of investigators, is so different from previous attacks.
Assuming the FBI data is solid, it’s certainly an indicator of possible North Korean involvement, but we’re still a long way from understanding the entire incident.
Read the whole thing, and wonder at the lack of good journalism coming from almost anywhere else.
(Update: another blogger skeptical about North Korea. Note that both this post and the one cited above allow for some nuance, something other than just North Korea guilty/not guilty. This reminds me of the weird argument which developed about the nature of the attack in Benghazi. For a large number of people on the right, it was either al qaeda or nothing, never mind substantial evidence that a local Libyan group, with a complicated relationship with the wider jihadist world, was the mover behind the attack.)