Obama: Sony Hack Proves U.S. Needs to Do 'A Lot More' to Protect Against Cyber Threats

"For now my recommendation would be that people go to the movies," Obama said.

ByABC News
December 17, 2014, 8:28 PM

— -- The actions of hackers who released a trove of e-mails stolen from Sony Pictures executives indicates the U.S. has not done all it can do to prevent enemies from exploiting “vulnerabilities” in our technology, President Obama said today.

“We’ve made progress,” Obama said in an exclusive interview with ABC “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir. “But what we just saw with Sony shows a lot more progress needs to be done. That means, by the way, that Congress also needs to take up cyber security legislation that’s been languishing for several years now.”

The hackers threatened to launch a Sept. 11, 2001-style attack on theaters screening the yet-to-be-released Sony film, “The Interview,” which depicts the fictitious assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. The federal government determined that North Korea was responsible for the hack.

Today Sony Pictures announced it was cancelling the film’s Dec. 25 release.

“In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film ‘The Interview,’ we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release,” the company said in a statement. “We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.”

Even before Sony’s announcement, President Obama had encouraged Americans to go to the movies.

“The cyber-attack is very serious,” Obama told Muir, but added: “For now my recommendation would be that people go to the movies.”

In addition, the president said authorities saw “no credible evidence” of a “serious threat to theaters.”

More of the interview with the president will air tonight on “Nightline” and tomorrow on “Good Morning America.” In the wide-ranging conversation, Muir also asked Obama about the release of American Alan Gross after five years of imprisonment in Cuba, Fidel Castro and the 2016 presidential campaign.