Politics

by Tim Cushing


Filed Under:
sony hack, white house



The Ridiculousness Of Turning The Sony Hack Into The 9/11 Of Computer Security

from the our-boys-fought-and-died-so-these-corporations-could-be-free-from-hacking! dept

Once again, our government is stepping up to help a beleaguered industry giant. Usually the MPAA would be involved (and maybe it is), along with some terrible legislation, but this time it's Sony Pictures getting an assist from The Man.

Sony, which has no one to blame but itself for being nearly completely compromised, apparently has enough pull that the White House itself is ready to step up, publicly denounce and possibly punish the group behind the hacking. (via Boing Boing)
U.S. investigators have evidence that hackers stole the computer credentials of a system administrator to get access to Sony's computer system, allowing them broad access, U.S. officials briefed on the investigation tell CNN. The finding is one reason why U.S. investigators do not believe the attack on Sony was aided by someone on the inside, the officials tell CNN.
These unnamed investigators and officials believe North Korea is behind Sony's hacking. It will be interesting to see what they present to back up this claim, considering there seems to be evidence indicating otherwise. The furor over The Interview, the film that portrays the assassination of Kim Jong-un, wasn't originally named as a motivation for Sony's hacking. The media seized on this possibility first, and the hackers followed suit.

Even if the US government turns out to be correct, there are plenty of reasons why it shouldn't react this way to the hacking of a private company. This is evidenced in White House press secretary Josh Earnest's statement, which indicates the White House is willing to play right into the hackers' hands.
He said the United States' response would need to be "proportional," and that national security officials considering how to respond are "also mindful of the fact that sophisticated actors when they carry out actions like this are oftentimes, not always, but often seeking to provoke a response from the United States."
Nevertheless, a response appears to be on the way, even if it's exactly what the hackers want. The Department of Homeland Security has even weighed in on the issue. Its director also attempts to hedge his statements, but still appears determined to do something about the attack.
"At this point we are not prepared to officially say who we believe was behind this attack," Homeland Security Jeh Johnson told MSNBC on Thursday. "I will say this: We do regard the attack on Sony as very serious."

Johnson described it as a "serious attack not only on individuals and a company but basic freedoms we enjoy in this country," but did not want to label it terrorism.
"Not terrorism." That's a relief. But the attack didn't have any effects on Americans' basic freedoms. Instead, it was the studios themselves who turned into proxy censors by refusing to release The Interview to theaters or anywhere else. This was prompted by the hackers' vague threats of violence if the movie was shown, but as cybersecurity expert Peter W. Singer pointed out at Vice, there's miles of space between talking shit and backing it up.
Here, we need to distinguish between threat and capability—the ability to steal gossipy emails from a not-so-great protected computer network is not the same thing as being able to carry out physical, 9/11-style attacks in 18,000 locations simultaneously. I can't believe I'm saying this. I can't believe I have to say this.

[...]

It is mind-boggling to me, particularly when you compare it to real things that have actually happened. Someone killed 12 people and shot another 70 people at the opening night of Batman: The Dark Knight. They kept that movie in the theaters. You issue an anonymous cyber threat that you do not have the capability to carry out? We pulled a movie from 18,000 theaters.
Not only that, but theaters' backup plans -- to show the North Korea-baiting "Team America: World Police" in its place -- have been scuttled by an equally panicky Paramount Pictures. So, the hackers have already received more of a response than they possibly could have hoped for. Now, the government is indicating it's willing to appear just as foolish by offering a national response to the hacking of a single motion picture studio. Naming a scapegoat appears to be the primary focus.
Though officials say they are planning to lay blame on Friday, they haven't yet decided how to respond to the attack.
Given that whatever sanctions or indictments accompanying are unlikely to have an effect on the hackers or whatever proxy nation the White House fingers, the government appears ready to go on record with its own shit talking. Any form of "backing it up" will still be over the distant horizon.

On Friday, our government will proudly denounce the hacking of Sony Pictures, an entity so insecure it has been hacked 56 times in the last 12 years. And we'll do it to send this powerful message to the hackers of the world:

No matter who you are or where you call home, you can force the hand of the US government by embarrassing certain corporations.


Reader Comments

The First Word

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 8:38am

    They needed 9/11 to blatantly violate the Constitution and bury their wrongdoing but the Internet worked around it. Now they need a reason to violate the Internet. They've been trying a shot for a while now. I wonder what will be the true 9/11 for the net...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 9:32am

    Sorry government, your word is no longer trusted.

    Digital evidence can be manufactured by anyone who has access to the medium.

    Indirectly, the data thievery was wholly Sony's fault - they provided access to this over an outside line, in an unsecure fashion. It's pretty common in computers, but don't blame the machines - they do exactly as they are programmed. No less, and certainly no more.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      observer, 19 Dec 2014 @ 10:49am

      Re:

      "It's pretty common in computers, but don't blame the machines - they do exactly as they are programmed. No less, and certainly no more."

      Which, incidentally, is what a lot of the suits calling for net censorship and regulation don't realise. They think that whatever systems they put in place will be magically unable to be subverted by hackers for more nefarious ends. It's that kind of thinking that gave us the Sony rootkit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        sigalrm (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 11:53am

        Re: Re:

        Which, incidentally, is what a lot of the suits calling for net censorship and regulation don't realise. They think that whatever systems they put in place will be magically unable to be subverted by hackers for more nefarious ends. It's that kind of thinking that gave us the Sony rootkit.

        Not to mention that it's the same magic that's going to give us the "For Good Guy Use Only" (tm) front doors the FBI is demanding.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 9:37am

    Guerilla marketing for a flop

    From one of the CNN links:
    Rep. Steve Israel, a top-ranking Democrat, called on Sony Pictures to release "The Interview" on DVD and tweeted "we should not let a pathological regime in N. Korea intimidate us." He added that he would be the first online to see the movie.
    This is nothing but guerrilla marketing. Sony knows the movie is awful. So they come up with an edgy guerilla marketing campaign to get people to watch a flop.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 9:43am

    U.S. investigators
    Why the fuck are they In another country Sony is not an American company they have ties sure but they aren't our responsibility.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 10:11am

      Re:

      I believe the title of plan B is a perfect response to this comment.

      "Team America: World Police"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pragmatic, 22 Dec 2014 @ 5:06am

      Re:

      Why the fuck are they In another country Sony is not an American company they have ties sure but they aren't our responsibility.

      $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    sorrykb (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 9:45am

    The furor over The Interview, the film that portrays the assassination of Kim Jong-un, wasn't originally named as a motivation for Sony's hacking. The media seized on this possibility first, and the hackers followed suit.

    This. A thousand times this.
    So much of the hysterical reporting has ignored this rather important detail.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ambrellite, 19 Dec 2014 @ 9:48am

    What about JPMorgan Chase?

    If any companies have the implicit protection of the government, it's the banks. Whatever happened to that recent, massive penetration of Chase bank's network? Did that get a "proportional response"? Was that a US hack? Is the security hole patched, or is it (or another one) left open for NSA's use?

    The very different responses to the two events by government spokespeople and news media is fascinating and telling.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 9:52am

    From the storytellers who brought you Iraqi WMD

    From the storytellers who brought you the frightening horror flick “Iraq WMD”. Now, a new, compelling tale. Bolder. More imaginative.
    “These unnamed investigators and officials believe...”
    It will take you to the edge of your seats.

    The New York Times calls it, “Better than yellowcake!” “A must see.”



    Coming out this holiday season.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, 19 Dec 2014 @ 9:52am

    "At this point we are not prepared to officially say who we believe was behind this attack," Homeland Security Jeh Johnson told MSNBC on Thursday. "I will say this: We do regard the attack on Sony as very serious."

    Yes, it indicates that Sony has a serious, chronic, and pervasive problem with IT security. However, that's a serious problem for Sony, not for the United States. I doubt that the USG would be quite so full of bluster and feigned concern if the target were, let's say, the Sierra Club. This response is far more about quid pro quo than it is about any actual threat of any kind to the US.

    Let's do keep in mind:
    http://gizmodo.com/sony-kept-thousands-of-passwords-in-a-document-marked-1666772286
    and
    http://ga wker.com/sonys-top-secret-password-lists-have-names-like-master_-1666775151
    and
    http://arstechnica.com /security/2014/12/state-sponsored-or-not-sony-pictures-malware-bomb-used-slapdash-code/
    and
    http://kre bsonsecurity.com/2014/12/in-damage-control-sony-targets-reporters/
    and perhaps most damning of all:
    http://gawker.com/sony-was-hacked-in-february-and-chose-to-stay-silent-1670025366

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Michael, 19 Dec 2014 @ 11:01am

      Re:

      When a company that has come at least pretty close to bribing US government officials has been hacked, it apparently becomes a pretty big issue for the US government.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 9:53am

    Blame

    "Though officials say they are planning to lay blame on Friday..."

    I think it would be better to blame Monday, or maybe the day after ones vacation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 9:53am

    I'm going to take a wild shot in the dark here and say that they hired General Alexander for NetSecOps. This would legitimate his years in office and probably bankroll his future career. /sarc

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 9:56am

    First this is totally Sony's fault. In one of the previous hacks, Sony had a year or more to change a folder named 'Passwords' to something else including some security. They failed to do that because it wasn't important to them at the time. Inside the folder were account nicks and passwords in the clear. What could go wrong?

    If anything, there's a bit of karma in this for the response from a Sony executive about 'most people don't even know what a rootkit is' when they were busy putting them on computers including the exposure of DoF unknown computers.

    The US has never been really serious about computer security, otherwise it would be more difficult for the three letter agencies to get into other's computers. Those doors are still open and if they know so do other governments. State sponsored hackers have the time to pour over fundamentals to find them.

    Lastly, the US paved the way in how to use malware on physical items. It's been 4 years since the discovery of Stuxnet. Want to bet that program hasn't been thoroughly torn down to understand how it works? I also notice that while the government has been setting all this up they have done nothing to strengthen the computer security of the average business and citizen. In computer warfare, the populace is just like the MADD initiative for nuclear warfare; totally unprotected. It would not take all that long to demonstrate just how disruptive that could be to the economy when the US once again kicks off some stupid war no one else has a defense from around them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 10:04am

      Re:

      Given the amount of lying that has been popular in the government I don't believe much of this. There is a response to getting lies and propaganda all the time. It becomes less and less believable. This government squandered the creditability it had in defending mass spying and torture.

      It's much too convenient to blame North Korea without any facts at all to back it up. It again smacks of propaganda and we're at the point of needing proof for any validity of claims; seeing how much BS has been fed through the media.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 9:56am

    And this just goes here.

    http://attrition.org/security/rant/sony_aka_sownage.html

    Count the events.
    Look at the toll it took.
    Count the number of times they could have taken proactive action.
    Notice that only when it might hurt the companies bottom line they finally gave a shit, and turned the Government into a spin machine to craft a fairy tale of nation state hackers.

    Wouldn't it be hysterical to discover they used getting hacked as a reason to shelve a truly shitty movie that will make more from the insurance payout, that it would when half the globe wasn't interested in showing it cutting into that all important global box office number.
    So now we get to have all sorts of public outrage over "North Korea" getting their way...
    Funny all of the public outcry wasn't there when they admitted we tortured people, but now we have an enemy to focus on...
    The magician always gets you to look away from where the action actually is, and the lovely assistants to this trick are government stooges bought & paid for to protect the media cartels.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 9:57am

    Department stores get hacked? Yawn.
    Banks get hacked? Whatever.
    Movie company gets hacked? OMG CYBER9/11!!!

    As if government agencies making their public announcements from Disneyland wasn't enough to prove that Hollywood owns America.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2014 @ 12:36pm

      Re:

      "As if government agencies making their public announcements from Disneyland wasn't enough to prove that Hollywood owns America."

      Or at least the American Government.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 10:04am

    The US government has a part in damaging Iranian centrifuges, a direct attack on a foreign government, and its no great deal. Hackers gather internal data information from a company, which includes information which is embarrassing to the US government and they go ballistic. It just shows where the politicians priorities lie, and that is in staying in power and to remove any threats that may reign in their power, including their ability ti act on foreign soil.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 10:10am

    Why hasn't anybody pointed out the obvious... All the cyber-war-mongering about the NSA needing access to everybody's networks in order to prevent such attacks from happening. If the NSA's systems are so desperately needed in order to avoid such events from happening, then why did this happen?? Why didn't the NSA see this coming and prevent if from happening?

    Just saying....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pragmatic, 22 Dec 2014 @ 5:08am

      Re:

      Common sense croaked years ago, buddy.

      The NSA isn't interested in preventing cyber-attacks, it's all about keeping tabs on We The People.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 10:11am

    All that's missing now is for Dick Cheney to tell us that the Interview and Team America cancellations demonstrate that torture is necessary.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 10:32am

      Star Power [was Re: ]

      All that's missing now is for Dick Cheney...
      They've got an even bigger star than Dick Cheney lined up for this one. Omigosh! Lookout! It's Newt Gringrich! THE NEWT HIMSELF.
      No one should kid themselves. With the Sony collapse America has lost its first cyberwar. This is a very very dangerous precedent.
                  ——Newt Gringich on Twitter
      Star power. You know it when you see it. You just know it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      mka, 19 Dec 2014 @ 2:55pm

      Re:

      hahaha. unfortunately for us, "The Interview" and "Team America" are already torture...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Phoenix84 (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 10:11am

    Wow, this much defense for a poorly secured and managed Japanese company?

    They won't equate it with terrorism, but I will:
    The hackers, like terrorists, have already won.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 10:12am

    First of all, that's what you get for treating IT like disposable garbage. You get shitty IT systems and security.
    Secondly, the response to this has been nothing short of mind-boggling insanity. N.Korea is a pro-level saber rattler but they have no bite to their bark. Being afraid of them is utterly ridiculous.
    There's something deeper to this that we're hearing.

    Remember folks, these are the people that want to run the internet and they're stumbling over themselves backpedaling like cowards at the first sign of a confrontation. It's no surprise their first, second, third and all subsequent responses have been to censor.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 10:19am

    Never forget Sony

    I, for one will never forget Sony's rootkit fiasco. That turned me off of buying anything Sony, forever.

    Even pirating Sony productions seems distasteful to me, it gives them too much attention (and I cannot think of anything worth the effort to click a few buttons).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 10:32am

    So breaking and entering isn't illegal anymore? Even if Sony left the keys under a welcome mat in front of the door.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      sigalrm (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 12:21pm

      Re:

      What happened to Sony is also almost certainly illegal (under US Law, at least. People forget a huge point in that that this hack isn't illegal everywhere, and in some countries would be cause for individuals to be actively rewarded).

      I generally dislike blaming the victim. But... if we're going to stick with your "keys under the mat" analogy: Sure, Sony left the keys under the mat. Someone broke in, with those keys. Sony then opted to leave the keys under the mat, again. And again, someone broke in with those keys. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. What, 5 times in the last decade or so? That were publicized? And more instances of network penetrations are being revealed as a result of internal communications being leaked.

      At some point, even the densest of organizations will get the hint: Move the key from under the mat to the potted plant on the window. Sony apparently couldn't be bothered to do even that.

      Doesn't make what happened to them less illegal for individuals operating under US jurisdictions.

      But if I'm Sony's insurance carrier, not only am I not paying on any claims, I'm dropping you as a customer. In addition, I might just sue you for insurance fraud if I can make it stick. If payment card information was lost, Visa/Mastercard/Amex/Discover are going to step in w/ major fines for it. If ePHI held under the auspices of HIPAA was compromised, OCR is stepping in to levy fines. And that's just a little bit of the fun Sony is likely to be in for.

      Also: if I'm a Sony Stock Holder, I'm talking to the best lawyers in the US, and getting ready to sue Sony corporation and every corporate officer from the board down for a complete and utter failure to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities. And the best part: 95% of the information I would generally have to cough up cash to get discovered is already on the internet.

      So, do you blame the victim? Generally, no. Sometimes, yes. and this is one of those cases where it may be justified.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      sigalrm (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 12:33pm

      Re:

      And, to shorten a long post:

      There's an excellent chance that whoever pulled off the Sony hack did so from a country where hacking Sony isn't illegal.

      They might have nothing to fear from the long arm of the US unless they're A) identified and b) travel to a country with a US Extradition treaty. Assuming, of course, that rendition is off the table (which is probably a bad assumption)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jameshogg (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 10:33am

    You don't seem to have stressed enough the disgrace of Paramount Pictures.

    They did not have any moral authority to pull Team America from theaters. In a crucial moment of solidarity that had to be upheld, Paramount trashed it.

    And they used copyright law to do so. That is a rather significant finding, I would think, and I can't believe it's been so easily glanced over.

    What we have here is a textbook example of copyright being used to suppress freedom of expression. On a vast political and dialectical scale. That showing of Team America was a crucial act of defiance in the face of the censorship of another film, and it was wrecked by a pathetic claim of ownership of expression on an already 10 year old movie.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pragmatic, 22 Dec 2014 @ 5:12am

      Re:

      Birds of a feather stick together. In any case, MPAA members are all about censorship. Remember SOPA? They're doing this in an effort to put it back on the table.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 10:34am

    The Ridiculousness Of Turning The Sony Hack Into The 9/11 Of Computer Security

    Well how else are you going to try and cram through a newer version of PATRIOT?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whoever, 19 Dec 2014 @ 10:35am

    The Interview -- perhaps just a really bad movie?

    Perhaps the real motivation for pulling the movie is that it is simply a bad movie. All this publicity will help to sell the movie when it is eventually released.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      New Mexico Mark, 19 Dec 2014 @ 1:55pm

      Re: The Interview -- perhaps just a really bad movie?

      Sony Entertainment will just use Hollywood math to claim this flop of a movie *could* have made a bazillion dollars and tack that onto an insurance claim. Ironically, they may even profit from this fiasco.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    dionuur, 19 Dec 2014 @ 10:38am

    sony hacked

    amazing sony getting hack again and again
    goverment blog|telugu mp3 songs

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 10:38am

    "Given that whatever sanctions or indictments accompanying are unlikely to have an effect on the hackers or whatever proxy nation the White House fingers"

    It wouldn't surprise me if blaming NK is just a political ploy to give the U.S. government any excuse to carry out actions it wanted to carry out regardless. Kinda like how Bush was fixated on blaming Iraq for 911 just because he wanted to go to war with them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 10:55am

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Dec 19th, 2014 @ 10:38am

      So then what do we want from North Korea? Oil?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 11:13am

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Dec 19th, 2014 @ 10:38am

        So then what do we want from North Korea?

        Seriously? Let me be serious for an instant.

        The United States is interested in long-term regional stability, and in the security of our friends, allies, and partners. We have a commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea, as well as to Japan. Furthermore, we have a long-term relationship with the Philippines —although our colonial history is not easy— and share language and culture with Australia. I could go on, but instead I'll leave many other relationships unsaid, rather than to inadvertently slight some other nation or power. Thus, that brief rundown of our major interests is certainly not exhaustive.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 2014 @ 12:38pm

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Dec 19th, 2014 @ 10:38am

        Probably a good reason to stop them from rebuilding their nuclear reactor which was stopped by Kim Jong-il, it's crazy when you think about it but his dad was less of a dipshit than Kim III The Fatty.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tek, 19 Dec 2014 @ 10:47am

    Because movie studios are obviously "critical infrastructure".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      sigalrm (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 12:29pm

      Re:

      Do you have any idea how many politicians wouldn't be re-electable if they weren't backed by the entertainment industry lawyers, lobby, and cash?

      Damned right the movie studios are "critical infrastructure"...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 11:30am

    haha, cant wait until the next big plot twist
    The NSA hacked Sony and accidentally left the keys in public, someone found it and put his willie in Sony. So they are now just blaming whoever they can so noone suspects their involvment.
    Would anyone be surprised if something like this happened?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 11:31am

    Open Question

    To those of you who have weathered more news cycles than I have, has the world always been this absurd and we're just exposed to more of it because of faster communications technology? Or are things heading further down the road to funnytown?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 12:17pm

      Re: Open Question

      Short answer: We have always been at war with EastAsia.

      Long answer: "North Korea hacked Sony" ranks with "Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction" ranks with "Our ships were attacked without provocation by the North Vietnamese" ranks with "I have here in my briefcase the names of Communists within the United States government". There's a long tradition of using the enemy du jour as the foil for everything that goes wrong -- since doing so makes it easier to justify whatever action we were going to take anyway, whenever the opportunity presented itself. That hasn't changed.

      What has changed is that much of the mainstream press has become part of the spin machine and self-demoted to the status of "stenographer", leaving much of the investigative reporting to newer organizations, bloggers, and independent journalists -- all of which are sporadically labeled not-journalists when convenient. Edward R. Murrow? Ha. Woodward and Bernstein? Yeah, right. Neither CBS News nor the New York Times nor the Washington Post has the stones to call them on this; instead they will dutifully report transparently-obvious bullshit as fact.

      What has also changed is that the aggregate ability to process facts and think critically has been severely degraded. Soundbites and reality television, Fox "News" and the 24 hour news cycle, CNN's "Situation Room" and the rush to be first to break a story, talking heads and more, all of these have lowered the standard of discourse so much that whoever repeats the biggest lies the loudest and the longest wins. (Consider: it's nearly 2015 and yet there are people so insanely stupid, so scientifically illiterate, so utterly clueless, that they think we need to hear "both sides" of the evolution vs. creationism "debate".)

      So the playbook is the same as it ever was (same as it ever was) but the news media are (mostly) unwilling to point it out and the public are (mostly) unwilling to figure it out for themselves. So things are working out pretty well for the spinmeisters in government.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2014 @ 11:25am

      Re: Open Question

      Or are things heading further down the road to funnytown?
      Armed clashes in South China Sea possible next year”, by Jose Katigbak, Philippine Star, Dec 17, 2014
      A military clash between China and one or more Southeast Asian nations involved in territorial disputes in the South China Sea has a 50-50 chance of occurring in 2015, the Council on Foreign Relations said. . . .

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Rabbit80 (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 12:10pm

    Nearly completely compromised?

    Sony, which has no one to blame but itself for being nearly completely compromised

    Nearly????

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 19 Dec 2014 @ 12:16pm

    I'm sure the Sony hack had nothing to do with their inferior infrastructure and management hubris of epic proportions regarding network security practices. Look! 9/11! Because Terrorist Hackers!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 1:00pm

    I now doubt it was North Korea

    That there is such an effort to portray the Sony hack into some kind of crisis for anyone who isn't Sony is so specious that it makes me wonder if North Korea did it in the first place -- it seems entirely too perfect for those in the US who want to crack down on freedom.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mka, 19 Dec 2014 @ 3:09pm

    so the US is announcing that they KNOW from their "evidence" that the hack was done remotely from North Korea...
    and Sony thinks someone can physically harm theaters remotely from North Korea? or Sony thinks the US is full of it.

    in any case, awful nice of US taxpayers to donate all our public agencies to "save" Sony (?) from some embarrassing emails. rather ironic, even, since these agencies are squirreling away all of our own emails.

    meanwhile, the MPAA will have its way with our "democracy", the Spentagon will target North Korea, and if someone in the US actually WANTS to off a few civilians in malls and theaters, no one really cares. it sells guns.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 3:25pm

    Breaking into Sony's network is the 9/11 (which is the pearl Harbor anti-terrorism) of computer security. OK.

    Seems more like the Maine of governments looking for an excuse for their next play date, but whatevs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 6:12pm

    The Ridiculousness Of Turning The Sony Hack Into The 9/11 Of Computer Security
    Let's face it, it has a better ring than calling it the "Every Couple of Months for Over a Decade" of computer security.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2014 @ 4:11am

    Their evidence will most likely be secret because "national security reasons". ie we have nothing and if showed we had nothing where would our witch hunt go

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2014 @ 12:31pm

    Sony Hacks

    Now, let me get this straight. Sony hacks goes around hacking ordinary citizens with root kits and so forth and that's OK with the government. But let Sony get hacked and the government flips out. Something's very wrong here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 21 Dec 2014 @ 2:50pm

    Corporate dollars speak louder than common people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 22 Dec 2014 @ 11:10am

    Change the narrative

    Like the linked article in Wired points out, the hack probably did not come from North Korea.
    So the first thing that security experts need to do is change the narrative: people already believe and accept that the hacking came from North Korea to the point that the headlines say "North Korea" instead of "hackers".

    Like other commenters are saying, the same US government that's trying to push a connection to North Korea is the same government that pushed WMD's in Iraq.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    thomas cross, 25 Dec 2014 @ 6:55am

    Sony & America blame game

    This is wake up call for arrogant American firms. The thought they are impenetratable yet we seeing one of the biggest tax contributor to USG crumbling to pieces-The top 10 highest paid are now sitting ducks for their stupidity and lack of forsight. Of all things America must realize that their genius worldwide figuring out with computers. the blame game on north korea is as stupid as american NASA hacked european countries like france and german to name but a few

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.