US President Barack Obama warned North Korea it would face retaliation for a crippling cyber attack on Sony Pictures over an irreverent film comedy that infuriated Pyongyang.
Obama said the movie giant had "made a mistake" in canceling the Christmas Day release of "The Interview," a madcap romp about a CIA plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
Sony defended its decision, made after anonymous hackers invoked the 9/11 attacks in threatening cinemas screening the film, prompting theater chains to say they would not risk showing it.
An envoy for Pyongyang denied the secretive state was behind the hacking, which led to the release of a trove of embarrassing emails, scripts and other internal communications, including information about salaries and employee health records.
Addressing reporters after the FBI said Pyongyang was to blame, Obama said Washington would never bow to "some dictator."
"We can confirm that North Korea engaged in this attack," Obama said.
"We will respond. We will respond proportionately and we'll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose."
While the president said he was sympathetic to Sony's plight, he also said: "Yes, I think they made a mistake."
"We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States," he added.