7 December 2014
Last updated at 07:53
North Korea has denied hacking into the computer system at Sony Pictures in retaliation for a film depicting the country’s leader – but has praised the attack itself as a “righteous deed”.
The attack crippled computers at Sony and led to upcoming films and workers’ personal data being leaked online.
North Korea said its “supporters and sympathisers” may have carried out the hack – but said it was not involved.
It has described the film, The Interview, as an “act of terrorism”
The comedy, made by Sony Pictures, features James Franco and Seth Rogen as two journalists who are granted an audience with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
The CIA then enlists the pair to assassinate him. The film is due to be released over Christmas.
North Korea is furious at the film made about its leader Kim Jong-un
The Interview stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as journalists enlisted to kill Kim Jong-un
An article on North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency, quoting the country’s top military body, said suggestions that Pyongyang was behind the attack were “wild rumour”.
However, it warned the US that “there are a great number of supporters and sympathisers” of North Korea “all over the world” who may have carried out the attack.
In the article, Sony Pictures was accused of “abetting a terrorist act” and “hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership” of North Korea by producing the movie.
Last week a North Korean diplomat had responded to questions over whether his country had conducted the attack by saying, “wait and see”.
According to the BBC’s Stephen Evans in the South Korean capital Seoul, the latest statement comes closer to a denial – but is ambiguous about whether the country’s supporters did it.
This would not be the first time North Korea has been mischievous with the West, our correspondent says, adding that the trailers for the film are – bafflingly – not that insulting to the North Korean leader.
California-based Sony Pictures’ computer system went down last week and hackers then published a number of as-yet unreleased films on online download sites.
They also released salary and Social Security numbers for thousands of Sony employees – including celebrities. The film about North Korea does not appear to have been leaked.
On Monday, Sony Pictures said it had restored a number of important services that had to be shut down after the attack.
It said it was working closely with law enforcement officials to investigate the matter but made no mention of North Korea.
The FBI has confirmed that it is investigating. It has also warned other US businesses that unknown hackers have launched a cyber-attack with destructive malware.