Former Republican House speaker and failed GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has weighed in on Sony Pictures decision to pull the comedy “The Interview” from theaters on Christmas in the wake of a massive cyberattack against Sony. Newt says America has lost its first cyberwar. And he’s completely wrong.
No one should kid themselves. With the Sony collapse America has lost its first cyberwar. This is a very very dangerous precedent.
Now I’m not sure how a business decision by a Japanese company means American lost a cyberwar. But the hackers working on behalf of the North Korean government have certainly won a battle and this is far from over.
The hackers made a big mistake in threatening theaters with 9/11 styled violence which has resulted in a stepped up investigation by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and almost certainly elements of the CIA and DoD. And less than 24 hours after the threat was made, the US Government has firm proof that North Korean, likely using surrogates, is responsible for the hack.
But make no mistake, the United States is second to none when it comes to engaging in cyber warfare. All one has to do is a little research on the Stuxnet virus to know this. There have been worse hacks against US corporations and business interests in the past two years. The only thing unprecedented about the Sony hack is the brazenness of the hackers, their daily taunting, and the release of embarrassing records.
But for the speaker to make a distinction that a business decision made by a corporation is somehow a cyberwar loss for America is a stretch at best and a bad attempt to politicize an attack on a foreign corporation. The speaker seems to not be able to distinguish a battle versus a war.
Nation/state attacks like this can be considered an “Act of War” so it will be interesting to see the extent our government responds to this. But this is far from over.