North Korea’s cyber forces may never top the scalp of hacking Sony, an attack that successfully derailed plans to release a movie viewed as critical of the country, but the totalitarian state also performed a similar hit on British broadcaster Channel 4, it has emerged.
A detailed New York Times report on the development of North Korea’s cyber hacking prowess, which was once widely-mocked, reveals for the first time that hackers tied to the country breached systems at Channel 4 in 2014 to prevent the airing of a fictional program based in North Korea.
Channel 4 had earlier announced plans for “Opposite Number,” series in which the state kidnapped a British scientist and forced him to develop their nuclear arsenal, however the project was later shelved.
The Times suggests that North Korea’s breach of Channel 4’s servers — which didn’t appear to have the same devastating impact as Sony — played a role in spiking the series. According to the report, “Opposite Number” mysterious withered. It was axed before reaching viewers after its outside funding “dried up.”
“At any one time we have a number of projects in development not all of which will make it to air,” a Channel 4 spokesperson told TechCrunch in response to the report.
In true showbiz fashion, it’s a very similar plot line to what happened with Sony Pictures.
The firm canceled the planned release of “The Interview,” a movie in which two journalists plot to assassinate Korean leader Kim Jong-un, after hackers thought to be from the country compromised company servers in a huge breach that affected multiple industries and cost Sony over $15 million.
Unsurprisingly, North Korea objected to the 10-part British series, calling it a “slanderous farce.” It claimed it already possessed “unimaginably powerful nuclear weaponry” so was not in need of help, and urged Britain’s parliament to “throw these reactionary movies… into a cesspit and punish those behind the projects.”
Fast forward to today and there is much concern over the state of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, and its ability to carry cyber attacks is well-known.