According to an official FBI bulletin obtained by The Intercept, the same hackers who broke into Sony Pictures and stole a devastating amount of data made threats against an American “news media organisation” as well. (It’s probably CNN.) The bulletin also warns that the attacks “may extend to other such organisations in the near future.”
That’s not a comforting way to start the new year if you’re a sysadmin at CNN or any other news outlet. It’s hard to tell how serious the threat is, but the fact that it’s included in a a Joint Intelligence Bulletin of the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t bode well. The bulletin points to a December 20 Pastebin post where a group identifying themselves as GOP — or Guardians of Peace — taunt the FBI and a link to a YouTube video called “you are an idiot!” Screenshots exist of a similar taunt directed towards CNN, and apparently federal authorities consider this a threat.
Of course, this does not mean that anybody hacked into Wolf Blitzer’s email. The GOP probably would have bragged about it if they had. As The Intercept points out, U.S. news organisations are often targets of hackers, especially state-sponsored hackers. Heck, The New York Times was hacked by China for months on end! Successfully infiltrating a news outlet could jeopardize countless sources, however, so the consequences amount to more than embarrassing executives and scaring everybody to death.
It’s probably safe to say that the FBI, news organisations, and the cybersecurity teams at all kinds of other organisations will remain on high alert for the coming months. And rightly so. Hackers had a field day this year. It would be pretty idiotic not to try to stop them next year.