President Obama signed an executive action today levying sanctions against North Korea after the Sony cyber-attack that left the company almost inoperable. For Sony, it has been a long several months, and after even more issues – with the attack by Lizard Squad on Christmas Day – that left the PlayStation Network inoperable – the company can now begin to breathe a sigh of relief – if the United States’ assertion that North Korea was behind the attack is accurate.
The order accuses North Korea of “destructive, coercive cyber-related actions during November and December,” and went on to point out that the country is a “continuing threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States.” Last month, President Obama noted that the United States would have a “proportional” response to the attack that left Sony Pictures completely compromised, and operating via pen and paper during the initial portions of the attack.
The sanctions can be considered major as well, since they are primarily financial sanctions against North Korea. The Treasury Department will no longer give North Korean officials and specific entities within the North Korean organizational structure access to the United States financial system. This will effectively freeze assets, and stop any further financial transactions from occurring. In a letter to Republican leadership – President Obama noted that “The order is not targeted at the people of North Korea, but rather is aimed at the Government of North Korea and its activities that threaten the United States and others.” The sanctions also identify 10 individuals in addition to the three government agencies that will see the heaviest of impacts from the sanctions.
This all stems from the attacks that were ultimately based on the movie “The Interview.” The movie starring Seth Rogan and James Franco centers on the stars being vetted by the CIA to go to North Korea and ultimately assassinate their leader. North Korea expressed their displeasure with the content of the movie, calling it an act of terrorism. However, this isn’t even the end of the road for North Korea.
According to the White House, this is only the first part of the response to the cyber-attack against Sony alluding that there would be more to come. The FBI completed the investigation and believed that North Korea was behind the attack – although they continue to vehemently deny responsibility, citing that they have been framed.
Whether North Korea was actually behind the attack or not, it would appear as though this is only the beginning in terms of what the country has to look forward to as the United States responds to the massive Sony attack of 2014.