U.S. officials believe the North Korean government was behind the computer hacking attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, a massive security breach that embarrassed several executives and led to the cancellation of the planned Dec. 25 release of "The Interview."
The officials told NBC News the hacking attack originated outside North Korea, but they believe the individuals behind it were acting on orders from the North Koreans.
"We have found linkage to the North Korean government," according to a U.S. government source.
The officials offered no further details. "The Interview" is a comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco that depicts the fictionalized assassination attempt on North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Sony on Wednesday dropped its plans to release the movie on Christmas Day after some of the country's largest theater chains said they were holding back or dropping the movie following threats of violence made by the same group that claimed it had hacked Sony, Guardians for Peace.
"Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business," Sony said in a statement Wednesday, saying that it reached the decision after the top cinema chains pulled out. Regal, Cinemark, Carmike and Cineplex were among the chains that said it would not show the film on the planned Dec. 25 premiere, citing security concerns.