The New York Times is reporting that the NSA has been inside North Korea’s network since 2010 and that is how they knew that the Sony attack came from North Korea. Hopefully, this is one NSA spying activity that no one in the U.S. is going to complain about.
The Times article said that North Korea had stolen the credentials of a Sony administrator, but the NSA didn’t realize that until after the attack.
General Clapper, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence went to North Korea in November as part of a secret plan to seek the release of two Americans being held there. His host, Kim Yong-chol, head of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, Clapper says, later oversaw the Sony attack.
That information certainly adds some more credibility to the statement that North Korea is responsible for the attack and is an example of how sometimes, the government makes statements, leaving out facts for various reasons, and as a result, they don’t sound as credible as they would like.
Obviously, the downside of the Times article – disclosing “sources and methods” – which are generally very highly classified (There is a link in the Times article to a Der Spiegel leaked NSA document that is marked TOP SECRET//SI/TK//REL TO USA, FVEY. For those of you who are familiar with the DoD classification markings, that document is definitely highly classified), will likely shut down the entry the NSA has into North Korea as the Koreans scramble to figure out how to deal with the leak of information. Just as likely, the NSA is trying to (or maybe already has) figure out how to deal with this leak.