From my op-ed in the Hollywood Reporter:
North Korea is one of two countries that have pioneered the use of hacking not for spying but for punishment. The North's attack on South Korean banks was aimed at destroying data, not just stealing it. In addition, Iran is suspected of using malware to destroy Saudi oil industry computers and of using botnets to bring down the websites of American banks. To be blunt, these two countries are testing how far they can go in harming U.S. companies without provoking American retaliation. If the attack on Sony is connected to them and goes unanswered, companies and groups whose speech offends these countries — and, soon, Russia and China — will face the same treatment.
It's a serious dilemma for the Obama administration, which is still largely paralyzed by lawyers and diplomats arguing that the U.S. cannot act against these regimes' cyberattacks, either because we don't have proof beyond a reasonable doubt or because a counterattack would be "asymmetric" — a fancy way of saying North Korea can get along without computers a lot better than we can.
Even so, we can't shrug off the Sony attack. Once the evidence is collected and clearly connected to North Korea, we need an innovative way to hurt Kim Jong-un without triggering a full-on hacking war. We need, in short, the kind of creativity that Hollywood has in spades. If this attack was meant to suppress The Interview, perhaps the best way to deter future attacks is to make sure the attack backfires.
Maybe Sony should give the Defense Department 1 million DVDs of The Interview to drop on Pyongyang from balloons. ...