Anybody who followed the Sony Pictures hack knows that the company’s computer systems were crippled after the hackers had their way. Even email and landlines were knocked down, Sony had to go back to old BlackBerry devices just to get communications up and running again. There has been a lot of speculation about the methods and the culprits behind this massive cyberattack. A new report published today claims that hackers used a zero day vulnerability to wreak havoc at Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Re/code reports today, citing people familiar with the Sony investigation, that hackers used a zero day vulnerability to quite frankly destroy the computer networks at the studio.
Zero Day vulnerabilities are those that are previous not known so programmers have zero amount of days to fix them before they’re used in an attack. For attackers this opens up the possibility of wider access on computer systems they’re not welcome in.
Its common for such vulnerabilities to be sold on the back market, almost always going to the highest bidder, which means that to purchase it the hackers have to be very well funded either through other channels or by a nation-state wishing to launch a cyberattack against another.
Perhaps its one of the reasons why the FBI was so quick to point the finger at North Korea for the Sony Pictures hack. President Obama also slapped some sanctions on the isolated country for its alleged role in the cyberattack. North Korea has consistently denied the allegations.
The report mentions that at this point in time details about this vulnerability are being “closely held,” so its not clear which software was compromised by the hackers to gain access. Other theories floated about the hack include the possibility of an inside job, or perhaps a “spear phishing” exercise through which the credentials of a Sony Pictures administrator were stolen and later used.