The U.S. is ready to blame North Korea for the crippling hack attack at Sony Pictures, as the studio said Wednesday it would cancel next week's planned release of its controversial comedy "The Interview."
U.S. investigators say an announcement pinning the blame on hackers working for the Pyongyang regime could come as soon as Thursday.
Because of the North Korean regime's tight control of the Internet in the reclusive country, U.S. officials believe the hack was ordered directly by the country's leadership.
North Korea experts say the country has spent its scarce resources on building up a unit called "Bureau 121" to carry out cyber attacks.
Earlier Wednesday, Sony pulled the film, which depicts the assassination of North Korea's leader, following a threat that people should avoid going to theaters where "The Interview" is playing.
Sony didn't have much choice - the country's major theater owners had virtually all said they had decided to postpone or cancel next week's screenings. Concerns about upholding freedom of artistic expression were countered by fears that families would heed the hackers' warning and bypass the box office for the remainder of the holiday season.
"In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film "The Interview," we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release," Sony said in its first statement on the matter.