North Korea Denies It Is Behind Sony Hack Attack

State-run agency statement is first official denial of involvement in studio takedown

North Korea’s state-run news agency denied on Sunday that it was involved in a hacking attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, but praised the cyber takedown as a “righteous deed.”

“The hacking into the Sony Pictures might be a righteous deed of the supporters and sympathisers with the (North) in response to its appeal,” the North’s top military body, the National Defence Commission, told the state-run KCNA news agency, according to the Agence France Presse.

The NDC rejected the media reports of its involvement as “false rumour” but went on to slam Sony for producing “The Interview,” a comedy about two journalists trying to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The statement called the film “abetting a terrorist act while hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership of the (North).”

The statement was the first clear denial from North Korea that it was involved in the attack on Sony. Previously, a spokesman for the communist country told the press to “wait and see” if it was involved in the hack, and at one point Pyongyang had warned of “merciless retaliation” over the film.

Sony has been suffering from an unprecedented cyber attack on its computers which have compromised sensitive business information about tens of thousands of individuals, including private passwords, salary information and business deals made at the studio. Much of that information has been leaked onto the Internet in recent days, in the wake of a total shutdown of the studio on the week of November 24.

The source of the attack is still unknown, and speculation has turned to North Korea because of the Seth RogenJames Franco comedy skewering the country.

As a result of the GOP hack, Franco’s “Interview” salary was revealed  to be $6.5 million and Seth Rogen‘s salary was revelaed to be $8.4 million. Personal information about Sony employees was released to the public as a result of the cyber attack, and a new email on Friday threatened the safety of Sony staffers’ families.