The US today said that it is treating the Sony cyber-security breach as a "serious national security matter" and is considering appropriate response to this intrusion into the network of the major American movie studio. Senior members of Obama's national security team are meeting at the White House to overview the investigation and consider appropriate response, the White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, said.
"Consistent with the (US) President's previous statements about how we will protect against, monitor and respond to cyber incidents, this is something that's being treated as a serious national security matter," he said. "There is evidence to indicate that we have seen destructive activity with malicious intent that was initiated by a sophisticated actor," said Earnest.
On November 24, emails between employees of Sony Pictures Entertainment, information about executive salaries at the company, copies of unreleased Sony films, and other information were obtained and released by hackers. The breach is being investigated by the FBI and the Department of Justice.
As a result of the security breach, the company has cancelled the release of its movie "The Interview." "It is being treated by those investigative agencies, both at the FBI and the Department of Justice, as seriously as you would expect. It has also been the subject of a number of daily meetings that have been convened here at the White House led by both the president's homeland security adviser and occasionally by his cyber coordinator," he said.
"This includes senior members of our intelligence community and homeland security officials, military, diplomatic and law enforcement officials," Earnest said. He, however, refrained from commenting on the nature of American response. "Before we start publicly speculating about a response, it's appropriate that we allow the investigation to move forward. I do understand that the investigation is progressing.
And that as the members of the national security team meet to discuss this matter, they are considering a range of options," he said. "As they do so, though, they're mindful of the need for a couple of things. They're first of all, as we would be in any scenario, strategic scenario like this, they would be mindful of the fact that we need a proportional response.
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 of America," he said. "They may believe that a response from us in one fashion or another would be advantageous to them. So we want to be mindful of that, too.
And the president's national security team is mindful of those two important strategic considerations as they consider a range of available responses," Earnest said.