Obama signed an executive order on Friday allowing sanctions on three North Korean organizations and 10 individuals. The individuals didn’t have anything to do with the attack directly. Read more details on who was sanctioned and the timeline of events at BBC.
The White House said that North Korea was trying to restrict free expression, and they wouldn’t have it. U.S. sanctions are already in place over North Korea’s nuclear program.
“We take seriously North Korea’s attack that aimed to create destructive financial effects on a U.S. company and to threaten artists and other individuals with the goal of restricting their right to free expression,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.
But Friday’s actions are believed to be the first time the U.S. has moved to punish any country for cyber-attacks on a U.S. company.
Whether North Korea actually was responsible for the attack is another issue entirely. North Korea still denies that it was them who orchestrated the Sony hacking. Many don’t believe their denials, but some cyber-security experts are beginning to. Earlier this week, Norse, a internet security company, briefed the FBI on evidence it claims could support the theory that the hack was an inside job, involving former Sony staff. Furthermore, one former Sony employee told Fox News there is a “growing consensus that North Korea wasn’t responsible.” The former employee questioned why, if it was North Korea, the country hasn’t released other potentially damaging documents in retaliation for the limited release of “The Interview.” The FBI, though, has stood by its original stance- that North Korea was definitely behind it.