World View: Sony Suffers Catastrophic Breach, Possibly from North Korean Hackers

World View: Sony Suffers Catastrophic Breach, Possibly from North Korean Hackers

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Sony suffers catastrophic breach, possibly from North Korean hackers
  • Mahmoud Abbas blames Gaza war on lies by Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood

Sony suffers catastrophic breach, possibly from North Korean hackers

Publicity poster for Sony's movie 'The Interview'
Publicity poster for Sony’s movie ‘The Interview’

You may have read some news reports that hackers broke into SonyPictures’s computer network, downloaded some movies and made themavailable for free online. According to the reports, North Korea mayhave perpetrated the hacks in retaliation for the pending release of amove, “The Interview,” which is a comedy that mocks North Korea’seasily mockable president Kim Jong-un. North Korea has previouslyreacted to news about the film by threatening war.

It turns out that the hacker breach was far more serious than therelease of a couple of movies, and is so widespread and destructivethat Sony may not survive. The hackers downloaded a dozen terabytesof data, including substantial corporate data and intellectualproperty. The data included employee salaries, performance reviews,criminal background checks, passwords, RSA tokens, global networkmaps, email accounts, and 47,000 Social Security numbers. The hackersare releasing much of that data online. The data includes everythingthat a hacker would need to compromise Sony all over again, in themanner of their choosing.

As bad as that it, it goes far beyond even that to wholesalelarge-scale system destruction. The hackers released malware designedto completely erase all data files throughout Sony’s entire network,including servers and PCs.

The attack was so vicious and so personal that it may well have been aNorth Korean attack. However, the hackers had customized the malwarewith specific knowledge of Sony’s internal networks, indicating thatthe hackers may have had help from insider, someone Edward Snowden.

Other corporations are looking on the Sony situation with horror,because they know that they could be next. They’re appalled at theseeming ease with which the hackers entered the system, the sheervolume of data that was released, and the amount of destruction thatwas wrought. Any corporation that hasn’t been worried aboutcybersecurity in the past should start worrying now. Dark Reading and Bloomberg and BBC

Mahmoud Abbas blames Gaza war on lies by Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas on November 30 gave alengthy interview on his strategy for dealing with Israel, Egypt andHamas. He repeated many things we’ve described before: plans togain worldwide recognition for the State of Palestine, plans to bringwar crime charges against Israel, opposition to the plan to declareIsrael a “Jewish state,” as that would degrade positions of the ArabIsraelis.

Abbas also laid out how the Gaza war began. As we’ve written in thepast, three Israeli teenagers were abducted on June 10, and their deadbodies were found on June 30. This triggered a spiral of violencethat led to the Gaza war, and further violence in Jerusalem sincethen. Israel accused Hamas of the murders of the teens, andHamas denied it. Abbas says that it was this lie by Hamasthat led to the war:

We agreed [with Hamas] that we would establish the[unity government between Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah], but that itwould not include a single member of the Hamas movement. Thisgovernment was sworn in on June 2,.[2014], and exactly ten dayslater, on June 12, they kidnapped the three settlers [near]Hebron. I tried to avoid creating a crisis. I spoke with [Hamaspolitical bureau head] Khaled Mash’al and asked him whether Hamashad anything to do with the kidnapping of the settlers, and hesaid: We have nothing to do with it. I wanted him to confirm itagain, and he swore by Allah that they had nothing to do withit. I told him: I believe you. That was in Doha.

Then the war in Gaza broke out, and I visited Qatar and Turkey toconsult [with them] about the Egyptian initiative. I had a meetingwith the Emir of Qatar, and I asked him [to hold a meeting]attended by the Hamas leadership and by members of the movementwho were in Qatar. Before this meeting [was held], Hamas memberSalah Al-‘Arouri officially declared from Istanbul that it wasHamas that had kidnapped the three settlers and killed them, inorder to promote Hamas’s attempt to mobilize the Palestinians inthe West Bank and Jerusalem. Then I asked Mash’al again aboutthose involved in the affair, and he said that Al-‘Arouri hadspoken for himself, not for Hamas.

I want to say here that no one lies more than them [Hamas] and theMuslim Brotherhood (MB). I am not against Islam, but I am againstthe MB. I am a good Muslim – I fast, I pray, and I read the Koran- while they are a bunch of liars…

Because of Hamas’s lie, this regrettable Gaza war broke out. Iphoned the Egyptian president and asked him to submit a proposalto stop the war. I clarified that [such] an initiative would savethe Palestinian people, and that it was the entire Palestinianpeople that was asking him to do this, not Hamas. [I explainedthis because] I sensed from his words that he wanted nothingwhatsoever to do with Hamas. President Al-Sisi met my request,and the Egyptian initiative was proposed. They [had to] propose itfor 51 days, because of Hamas’s obstinacy, and during this timethe land [Gaza] was completely destroyed. On the last day [of thewar], Hamas members begged me to declare a ceasefire with noreservations or conditions, after many had already been killed andwounded and Gaza was in ruins.

During the 50-day war, everyone spoke out against me, first of allFatah. I told them that I am not willing to destroy the West Bankand Ramallah. Hamas, for example, killed three [Israelis], and itwanted an intifada, and I did not respond… At the end of thewar, my men told me: You were right. Had we acted like them [i.e.,like Hamas], the [entire] land would have been ruined…”

I wondered why Hamas did not accept the reconciliation from theoutset, instead of [allowing] the destruction that was caused inthe [Gaza] Strip. The same thing happened when they blew up thehomes of the Fatah leaders in Gaza recently [on November 7], butclaimed that they were not involved in this and that they wereinvestigating the incident. They are liars.

Abbas simply can’t understand why Hamas leaders seem to want a warthat would destroy Gaza when he does not, but this is exactly the kindof thing that Generational Dynamics explains. Abbas was born in 1935,and lived through the horrors of the 1948 war between Jews and Arabsthat followed the partitioning of Palestine and the creation of thestate of Israel. He says, “Had we acted like [Hamas], the entire landwould have been ruined.” How did he know that? Because the entireland was ruined by the 1948 war.

The Hamas leaders are young, and have no personal memory of thehorrors of the 1948 war. They look at Iran’s 1979 Great IslamicRevolution, where a popular uprising overwhelmed the existinggovernment, and installed a hardline Shia government. Using that as amodel, they believe that a war with Israel would bring about a popularuprising that would destroy the state of Israel, and put a hardlineSunni government, governed by Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, incharge of all the Palestinian territories — that is, the State ofPalestine.

Generational Dynamics predicts that a new war between Jews and Arabswill in fact take place, though it may not turn out exactly as theHamas leaders hope. The state of Israel may or may not survive, butthe Hamas government may not survive either. One thing is prettycertain: That Abbas’s worst fears will come true, and the entire landwill be ruined. And the Hamas leaders, if they survive, will almostcertainly be sorry that the war ever started.


KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Sony, The Interview, North Korea, Kim Jong-un,Palestinian Authority, Palestine, Gaza, Hamas, Mahmoud Abbas,Israel, Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood
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