AMITIAE - Monday 22 December 2014

Cassandra: Comments on The Sony Hack and the DPRK-Thai Connection - How Close is the Embassy?

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By Graham K. Rogers


On Saturday an interesting blog item from Jeffrey Carr, author of the O'Reilly publication, Inside Cyber Warfare, suggested quite strongly that the Sony hacking, which most are blaming on North Korea (DPRK), emanated from the St Regis Hotel which is on Bangkok's Rajadamri Road. Further to this, "Sony, the DPRK, and the Thailand - Pyongyang Connection" linked the DPRK with the Thai telecommunications company Loxley, whose offices are not far from the hotel.

Loxley is known to have supplied much equipment to the DPRK and the article was updated later with more information concerning the supply of parts for nuclear centrifuges that had initially been put forward by local journalist, Don Sambandaraksa in the Bangkok Post and which was later reproduced in Telecomasia.

Later on Saturday, the DPRK countered the USA allegations about its responsibility with the suggestion that a joint investigation should be carried out: an offer that the USA would be foolish to accept, but even more foolish to turn down.

Not all are convinced. While the CEO of Sony, interviewed on Fareed Zakaria GPS, was going along with the FBI and blaming the DPRK (along with everyone else), others have had serious doubts.

A summary of some of the comments from those who think the FBI is mistaken (at best) is in an item by Tyler Durden on Zero Hedge: Hacking Collective Anonymous Says FBI Is Lying, "North Korea Is Not Source Of Hack". Several opinions suggest that the alleged source was a simple misdirection: apparently not hard to do, if you know how. While Jeffrey Carr (above) made the possible connection to Loxley in Bangkok, who had supplied DPRK with communications equipment - and more - the location seems to hold other suggestions.

Google Maps - Rajadamri Road and Nearby

The St Regis Hotel is some 14 minutes, Carr writes, from the offices of Loxley, but it is far closer (about 200m) to the official residence of the US Ambassador to Thailand. Between the two are the offices of Aeroflot. Google Maps does not show the residence (although there is a link in Thai to a Google Street View of the side gate), nor the route through to the back of the US Embassy.

Apple Maps does a little better, showing this as US Embassy Staffs (sic) Residence and the link from the side gate, along Mahatlek Luang 3 (the Aeroflot office is on the corner), round the back of S.G Tower 2 (Villa Market) and out into Soi Lang Suan. That links through several lanes to Soi Ton Son and the back of the Embassy.

Google Maps
Apple Maps - Rajadamri Road and Nearby

As credible as the link to Loxley may be, why set in an expensive hotel some distance from Loxley when there are several other hotels nearer? And if there is to be speculation, the proximity of the St Regis Hotel to well-guarded US properties may well be significant, particularly in the light of other US disinformation strategies.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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All content copyright © G. K. Rogers 2014