(CNN) – U.S. officials say they aren’t quite ready to officially blame North Korea for the massive cyber attack against Sony, and top agencies are trying to decide how to handle the hackers.
But this isn’t the first time the media giant has been infiltrated in a cat-and-mouse game of cyber warfare. And now, other companies are beefing up their own cyber-security to prevent hackers from penetrating their firewalls and stealing private information.
Hidden behind security doors and bulletproof glass, a Tokyo office that could easily be the set of a sci-fi movie. Only this plot is real. This is a map that they say shows all the cyber attacks launched at Japan just in the last month. Hackers from around the world, targeting thousands of Japanese companies. For hundreds of them, this Tokyo cyber security firm is the only line of defense.
“The hackers are always getting more advanced,” says Itsuro Nishimoto.
Sometimes too advanced for those trying to keep up. For LAC, which keeps its client list confidential, the chief technology officer knows a devastating hack like the one on Sony Pictures can penetrate even the best cyber defense.
Could you protect against an attack like that? Could anybody protect against it?
“Not 100 percent,” he says. “It’s like catching a cold or getting the flu.”
Or in Sony’s case, a disease that crippled a major corporation. For the better part of a decade, the electronics and entertainment giant has been a popular cyber target. 3 years ago, in 2011, hackers stole 77 million PlayStation accounts, knocking out the network for almost a month.
“People thought about so-called cyber terrorism, they thought hacking.”
Asia strategist Keith Henry says Sony was taken by surprise last month.
Cyber criminals took control of Sony Pictures’ computer system and did something unprecedented: stealing massive amounts of data and using it to devastate the company.
“They can inflict damage. Immense amount of damage to corporate America.”
Sony appears to be trying to avoid further provoking North Korea, the prime hacking suspect, telling CNN simply that the investigation is ongoing. The Japanese government is also distancing itself, telling CNN it’s a “United States issue.”
“One of the reasons nobody is willing to make a statement is because they don’t know what to say.”
Henry says the world is coming to terms with the new reality of cyber-terrorism.
“How are we going to deal with it? We don’t know yet.”
For now, at tech labs like this, a new sense of urgency: figuring out how to fend off a new kind of enemy.