Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Failure to Communicate

Consider how North Korea and America view the whole Sony Incident.

North Korea considers the once-planned release of The Interview to be an act of war:

North Korea has criticized the planned release of the film as an "act of war" and a diplomat at the United Nations has denied any part in the cyber attack against Sony.

And they acted disproportionately by hacking into Sony Pictures.

Meanwhile, our president views the North Korean attack on Sony as a criminal matter where proportionality will reign:

"We will respond. We will respond proportionately and we'll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose."

While the president said he was sympathetic to Sony's plight, he also said: "Yes, I think they made a mistake."

"We cannot have a society in which some dictator some place can start imposing censorship here in the United States," he added.

Dictator? No. Can't allow that sort of imposed censorship thing.

But a certain religion that imposes censorship? Well, that's another matter. In that case, break out the apologies.

If Sony made a mistake as the president says, it was perhaps only that they thought somebody in their Hollywood offices might get arrested on a completely unrelated cocaine possession charge (some did write some arguably racist things in hacked emails) if they released the film.

We still haven't done much to respond to the killing of our ambassador to Libya and three other Americans at Benghazi more than two years ago. So that "place, time, and manner" caveat gives the president considerable flexibility to do nothing and pass it off to the next president.

Or perhaps the president will deny Dennis Rodman permission to visit Kim.

But at least we are defining the expectations of our foes.

North Korea bloodlessly cyber- attacks us and we back down for offense they take from our free system.

Islamist jihadis bloodily kill us and we apologize for offense they allegedly took from our free system.

That was China's mistake. They just took offense and failed to take any type of action. In that case we were defenders of our free system.

I think we're all on the same page, now.

UPDATE: An amateur may have counter-attacked North Korea with that 10-hour Internet outage in North Korea:

The small number of computers connecting North Korea to the Internet makes disabling them straightforward, said Jose Nazario, chief scientist at Invincea Inc., a Fairfax, Virginia-based security-software company.

"It's actually pretty easy," he said. "There are only a handful of hosts. It's relatively easy to attack just those hosts or the pipes that are present there. There's not that much bandwidth there. It's very, very accessible to anyone who wanted to attack them."

It had no impact on North Korea's hacking capacity, little on the public, and probably could have been done for $200. But it was embarrassing.