Source: U.S. Suspects North Korea Had Help Attacking Sony Pictures

This Dec. 2, 2014 file photo shows Sony Pictures Entertainment headquarters in Culver City, Calif. Two former employees of Sony Pictures Entertainment on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014 filed suit against the company for not preventing hackers from stealing nearly 50,000 social security numbers, salary details and other personal information from current and former workers. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)
This Dec. 2, 2014 file photo shows Sony Pictures Entertainment headquarters in Culver City, Calif. Two former employees of Sony Pictures Entertainment on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014 filed suit against the company for not preventing hackers from stealing nearly 50,000 social security numbers, salary details and other personal information from current and former workers. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)
This Dec. 2, 2014 file photo shows Sony Pictures Entertainment headquarters in Culver City, Calif. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

 

(Reuters) – U.S. investigators believe that North Korea likely hired hackers from outside the country to help with last month’s massive cyberattack against Sony Pictures, an official close to the investigation said on Monday.

As North Korea lacks the capability to conduct some elements of the sophisticated campaign by itself, the official said, U.S. investigators are looking at the possibility that Pyongyang “contracted out” some of the cyber work. The official was not authorized to speak on the record about the investigation.

The attack on Sony Pictures is regarded to be the most destructive against a company on U.S. soil because the hackers not only stole huge quantities of data, but also wiped hard drives and brought down much of the studio’s network for more than a week.

While U.S. officials investigate whether North Korea enlisted help from outside contractors, the FBI stood by its previous statement that Pyongyang was the prime author of the attack against the Sony Corp unit.

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