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Tech Week: FBI Still Blames North Korea; App Encourages Sharing

This week, the FBI stood firm on its claim that North Korea was responsible for the hack on Sony Pictures, even though independent cybersecurity experts have questioned the FBI's stance. We also looked at a new app that helps people share their stuff, and at Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler's handling of the net neutrality debate.


App Connects People And Stuff: NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports on a new Netherlands-based app, Peerby, that helps people share and borrow their stuff like power drills and bicycle pumps. Peerby connects 100,000 borrowers and lenders in the Netherlands each month, and the company plans to introduce the service in 50 U.S. cities this year.

Spotlight On The FCC Chairman: When President Obama appointed former cable TV lobbyist Tom Wheeler to head the FCC in 2013, Wheeler probably never imagined he would become a public face of the net neutrality debate. NPR's Brian Naylor reports on how Wheeler is managing the debate.

Tech Trends That Will Stay Hot In 2015: NPR tech reporters Elise Hu, Laura Sydell and Aarti Shahani reconsider 2014 tech trends that are likely to resurface in the year ahead. Among them, Apple's reputation as an innovator, a new age of voice command devices, and the focus on cybersecurity after a year of data breaches.

The Big Conversation

Despite much uncertainty from cybersecurity experts, the FBI wouldn't back down from its claim that North Korea was to blame for the devastating cyberattack on Sony Pictures. FBI officials and data scientists from the U.S. cybersecurity firm Norse met Monday in St. Louis, where Norse representatives presented research linking several people, including a former Sony employee, to the hack, CNN reported.

The new information comes after a wave of speculation regarding the FBI's claim that North Korea is the culprit. As NPR's Aarti Shahani reported, private security researchers doubted the FBI's explanation for blaming North Korea. The FBI said the IP addresses — unique computer addresses — in the attack trace back to North Korea, but experts say it's fairly easy to spoof an IP address. The FBI also said the malware used in the attack was similar to software North Korea used in previous attacks, but experts say criminals are always reusing code.

And The Interview, the comedy film that was pulled from major theaters after threats from the hacking group Guardians of Peace, is booming at the box office. The movie raked in $15 million in online rentals and purchases in the first four days it was available, and it earned the studio nearly $3 million from screenings at mostly independent theaters.

On Friday, President Obama authorized expanded sanctions against North Korea over its alleged role in the Sony hack.


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Samantha Raphelson is a producer for NPR.org. You can reach out to her on Twitter.

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