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Sony hack looms large over the President’s end-of-year press conference




U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the nation about normalizing diplomatic relations the Cuba in the Cabinet Room of the White House on December 17, 2014 in Washington, DC.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the nation about normalizing diplomatic relations the Cuba in the Cabinet Room of the White House on December 17, 2014 in Washington, DC.
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President Obama is holding his last press conference of the year, and everyone is waiting to hear what he has to say on a range of topics, from the FBI’s announcement this morning that it has established links between the hack at Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) and North Korea to the President’s own actions towards reconciliation with Cuba.

The FBI has been working with SPE since the hack became public. The initial investigation into the hack and “Guardians of Peace,” the so-called hacker group that claimed to have perpetrated the crime, have led the FBI to the determination that North Korea is responsible. According to the FBI’s press release this morning, this conclusion is based on three pieces of evidence:

1) “technical analysis of the data deletion malware used in this attack revealed links to other malware that the FBI knows North Korean actors previously developed,”

2) “significant overlap between the infrastructure used in this attack and other malicious cyber activity the U.S. government has previously linked directly to North Korea,” and

3) “the tools used in the SPE attack have similarities to a cyber attack in March of last year against South Korean banks and media outlets, which was carried out by North Korea.”

As politicians and entertainment figures across the country raise the alarm over the hack, with some claiming that we have just lost our first cyber-war and others criticizing the actions theater chains and Sony have taken since, President Obama is expected to spend a substantial portion of his press conference remarking and taking questions on the situation.

Can the President assuage fears about theater attacks and future cyber attacks? What actions should the President take to deal with the damage caused by this hack?

Guests:

Kitty Felde, KPCC’s Washington D.C. correspondent

Jim Walsh, expert in international security and a Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program

David Mark, co-author of Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs, and Washington Handshakes: Decoding the Jargon, Slang and Bluster of American Political Speech  (ForeEdge, 2014) and a former senior editor at Politico   

Johannes Ullrich, Dean of Research of SANS Technology Institute, a cybersecurity research and education organization headquartered in Maryland.