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By Noel Young, Correspondent

December 4, 2014 | 3 min read

North Korea, is being blamed for a crippling cyber-attack on Sony Pictures according to investigators - possibly in revenge for a new film The Interview - a comedy about a plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The attack "would be the first known case of the reclusive nation using its increasingly potent hacking capability to cause major disruptions to a company in the United States," says the Washington Post.

Sony, one of Hollywood’s biggest studios, was brought to a near-standstill last week, with employees using paper and pens instead of their computers.

Several unreleased Sony films were released to the Internet and hackers posted online sensitive personal information regarding thousands of Sony employees.

The Post said the cyber-attack may have come in retaliation for Sony’s upcoming release,"The Interview,” a comedy built around a fictional CIA plot to kill North Korea’s 31-year-old supreme leader, Kim Jong Un .

North Korean officials have repeatedly complained about the movie due to open in cinemas at Christmas -- warning of “stern” and “merciless” retaliation.

On Tuesday a North Korean government spokesman declined to comment on whether it was behind the Sony cyber-attack, according to a report by BCC News, which quoted the spokesman as saying, “Wait and see.”

If investigators’ beliefs turn out to be true, the hack on Sony would mark a troubling new development at the intersection of international relations, commerce and cyberspace.

James Lewis, a cyber-security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, commented,“This is a step beyond what they’ve done in the past, but it’s a logical trajectory for them,”.

He said that he did not have definitive knowledge that North Korea was responsible for the Sony hack but noted that it shared characteristics of previous cyber-attacks by North Korea against South Korean companies.

Sony, behind movies such as “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “Fury,” declined to comment on reports of North Korean responsibility for the cyber-attack.

North Korea publicly warned in June that the release of “The Interview,” starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, would be an “act of war.” An unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesman did not mention the movie by name, but it was clear then that he was referring to the movie.