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North Korea's Sony hack: 'Effectively an act of war' says Blodget

Update: Sony Pictures "made a mistake" in pulling The Interview, President Obama said in his year-end press conference Friday. “We cannot have a society where some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States. Because if somebody’s going to intimidate them for releasing a satirical movie, imagine what’s going to happen when there’s a documentary they don’t like?"

Earlier: The Federal Bureau of Investigation has officially named the North Korean government responsible for the major security breach and cyber attack at Sony Pictures. The FBI was able to make the determination in part through technical analysis of the malware used in the attack.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, the FBI said, “We are deeply concerned about the destructive nature of this attack on a private sector entity and the ordinary citizens who worked there.” The release went on to say, “Cyber threats pose one of the gravest national security dangers to the United States.”

The FBI statement echoed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson who on Thursday called the hack on Sony Entertainment “very serious.” Johnson said the Obama administration is considering “a range of options” in response to the attack.

“Our government has been slow to respond given the magnitude of this,” says Yahoo Finance’s Henry Blodget. “If it was state-sponsored in any way, it was effectively an act of war on a U.S. asset. We have not defined that as an act of war but going forward we probably should.”

Now that North Korea has been identified as the responsible party, corporations can go back to wringing their hands over what the big picture is:  This may be the beginning of a new wave of attacks. Attacks that could take out a company or in more severe cases, cripple the entire financial system or the broader economy.

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Blodget says it’s “open season” now and what comes next could affect far more people and entities. “It’s not just they get some credit card numbers which we’ve been seeing forever. But they actually get into the money” at large corporations and banks. That sort of hack could be devastating.

It would make stealing credit card data and personal email addresses—like in the Target and Home Depot hacks-- seem like child’s play. The Sony breach exposed a new and deeper threat. It wasn’t about stealing credit cards to resell them on the web, it was about taking down a company. Sony cancelled the release of "The Interview." And that's a financial hit for sure. But the hack also left employees scared and exposed, stealing and exposing healthcare information, employee e-mail addresses and e-mails involving private information about clients.

Blodget says what was further unsettling about the Sony attack is that it wasn't a particularly sophisticated hack. “We’re only now beginning to understand how this was done,” he says. “And we don’t really know, but the early indications are it’s not that complicated. It takes focused, intelligent, talented work, but not mysticism or huge internal spies.”

Blodget believes attacks against corporations are going to be more and more common. “I think that Silicon Valley is waking up and saying maybe we should be putting everything in email,” he says.

He says it will also bring into question storing sensitive data in a cloud. “Corporate America for the last several years has been saying 'Ah the cloud is dangerous, we don’t control it.' And now we think about it—who do you want to controlling it?”

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