Just like in a Bond movie, an army of teenage geniuses tap away at keyboards in fortified complex tucked away from prying eyes in a rogue state, bent on bringing cyber-carnage to their Western enemies on the orders of their leader who is bent on revenge.
But this isn’t the plot line from a film. This is North Korea in 2014. And the cyber-warriors inside have diverted from their usual work of disrupting governments and big business to turn their collective fury on Sony.
The building, the Kim Il-Sung Military Academy, is one of four North Korean universities known to train children, hand-picked for their intelligence from all around the country, and turn them into recruits for an elite group of hackers simply known as Unit 121 or Bureau 121.
The unit dances to the tune of Kim Jong-Un and his Reconnaissance Bureau. It has been widely suspected to be behind the constant barrage of attacks on Sony Pictures in revenge for the release of The Interview – a comedy starring Seth Rogan which features the fiery death of the supreme leader.
The huge breach at the film company by hackers calling themselves Guardians of Peace has forced Sony to cancel the December 25 release date, after a chilling warning that there would be 9/11 type attacks at cinemas across the country.
And for the last few weeks, the release of excruciating emails of Sony bosses, actors and even a royal has caused shockwaves in Hollywood and beyond.
The FBI is now understood to have pinned the attack firmly on North Korea – although the communist state has officially denied being behind the attack, saying people would need to ‘wait and see’. But it did call the hack a ‘righteous deed’ and warned months ago that the release of the film would be ‘an act of war’.
There are claims it could be the work of DarkSeoul – which some experts believe to be another name for Unit 121.
Whether it is definitely true or not, the chilling rise of Guardians of Peace has nevertheless thrown a spotlight on the country’s ability to cause electronic havoc.