North Korea’s National Defense Council threatened the United States with a “hail of bullets and shells on its own territory,” Thursday in response to U.S. sanctions over a massive data hack of the Sony Corporation, which the U.S. blames on North Korea. The round of sanctions announced last week target a number of high-profile North Koreans who operate outside of the country for state-run businesses. Among other measures, the sanctions block their access to U.S. financial systems, according to Time.
“The U.S. should know that such tragicomedy as issuing the above-said order over the case without any sure ground would only bring bitterer disgrace and shame to it,” the statement read. “Secondly, the U.S., availing itself of this opportunity, should make a bold decision to unconditionally stop all reckless hostile acts of creating the danger of war on the Korean Peninsula.”
The statement also warned against “hostile policy” that could lead to “a war disaster,” and said that the country, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, has already launched “the toughest counteraction,” although it did not specify what that counteraction was.
Hackers stole around 100 terabytes of data from Sony in December, warning they would release the data if Sony went ahead with the release of "The Interview," a comedy about two reporters who are tasked by the CIA with assassinating Kim Jong Un after scoring an exclusive interview with him. Sony nearly bowed to the demands, but public support and support from U.S. President Barack Obama for the release prompted the studio to release it for free on YouTube.
The North Korean government denies any involvement in the hack, which a group calling itself “Guardians of Peace” claimed responsibility for, but the regime has publicly offered support for the cyberattack. Shortly after officially accusing North Korea of the hack, on Dec. 22, North Korea’s Internet went down completely. It was believed by some in North Korea to be the work of the U.S. government, although no officials have publicly confirmed or denied that. FBI director James Comey announced new information on Wednesday that the agency said proved North Korea was behind the hack, according to the Huffington Post.