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Security Firm Briefs FBI on Theory Sony Hack Was Done by Laid-Off Staffer

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A man shows his ticket for 'The Interview' purchased at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema December 25, 2014 in Ashburn, Virginia. Sony Pictures said it will screen the comedy 'The Interview' in some US theaters on Christmas Day, a dramatic U-turn after its widely criticized decision to cancel the film following a cyber-assault blamed on North Korea. (AFP PHOTO / PAUL J. RICHARDS)

The FBI was briefed Monday by a leading cyber-security firm that says evidence indicates the Sony hack was done by a former employee, not North Korea, Politico reported Monday evening.

A man shows his ticket for 'The Interview' purchased at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema December 25, 2014 in Ashburn, Virginia. Sony Pictures said it will screen the comedy 'The Interview' in some US theaters on Christmas Day, a dramatic U-turn after its widely criticized decision to cancel the film following a cyber-assault blamed on North Korea. (AFP PHOTO / PAUL J. RICHARDS) A man shows his ticket for 'The Interview' purchased at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema December 25, 2014 in Ashburn, Virginia. Sony Pictures said it will screen the comedy 'The Interview' in some US theaters on Christmas Day, a dramatic U-turn after its widely criticized decision to cancel the film following a cyber-assault blamed on North Korea. (AFP PHOTO / PAUL J. RICHARDS)

The federal law-enforcement agency formally blamed North Korea earlier this month for the devastating hack attack against Sony.

However, in recent weeks, independent security analysts have questioned whether the communist country was responsible.

“When the FBI made the announcement so soon after the initial hack was unveiled, everyone in the [cyber] intelligence community kind of raised their eyebrows at it, because it’s really hard to pin this on anyone within days of the attack,” Kurt Stammberger, vice president of cyber intelligence firm Norse, told Politico.

The security expert said the meeting with the FBI was arranged after Norse approached the law-enforcement agency with its findings. The company had been privately investigating the hack since around Thanksgiving, Politico reported.

According to Stammberger, the FBI was "very open and grateful" for the company's input. However, at the current time, the agency still places blame on North Korea for the attack.

Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter

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