U.S. leader Barack Obama has announced sanctions on North Korea in retaliation for the country’s cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment.
President Obama made threats about last year’s hack attack, which resulted in the leak of private emails, celebrity details and unreleased movies, in his end-of-year address last month – and now he’s following the talk with action.
He signed an executive order on Friday authorising the sanctions, which will affect a North Korean government intelligence agency and an arms dealer.
Those sanctioned are barred from using the U.S. financial system, and Americans are prohibited from doing business with them.
A spokesman for The White House insists there are more actions to come in response to the Sony incident.
A statement reads: “We take seriously North Korea’s attack that aimed to create destructive financial effects on a U.S. company and to threaten artists and other individuals with the goal of restricting their right to free expression.
“As the president has said, our response to North Korea’s attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment will be proportional, and will take place at a time and in a manner of our choosing. Today’s actions are the first aspect of our response.”
Obama attacked Sony bosses in his December press conference, insisting their decision to cancel the release of Seth Rogen comedy The Interview, which was at the center of the hack attack, was “a mistake”.
Sony executives promptly changed their minds and the film was released to independent U.S. cinema chains on Christmas Day.
In the film, Rogen and James Franco portray journalists assigned to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.