U.S. to charge North Korean hacker over 2014 Sony cyber-attack

North Korean charged in crippling Sony hack Wanna Cry virus

A computer programmer working for the North Korean government was charged with devastating cyberattacks that hacked Sony Pictures Entertainment and unleashed the WannaCry ransomware virus that infected computers in 150 countries and crippled parts of the British health care system, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

The US Justice and Treasury Departments said Park Jin Hyok was part of a unit known as the "Lazarus Group" that masterminded the notorious hacks "on behalf of the government of North Korea or the Workers' Party of Korea". Park was also cited by U.S. officials as part of a conspiracy that conducted the fraudulent transfer of $81 million from the central bank of Bangladesh in February 2016.

"These activities run afoul of norms of acceptable safe behavior in cyber space and the worldwide community must address them when we can", Demers said, adding that the charges "reflect the department's determination and ability to follow the facts and the law and to hold individuals and nations accountable for their crimes".

A senior DOJ official said that while no other individuals are named in the complaint, Park allegedly worked with others in carrying out the attacks. The studio eventually posted it on YouTube, a remarkable turn of events for a major wide release in a time before Netflix streaming Will Smith and Michael Bay movies. Sony canceled the release of the film amid threats to moviegoers. "The North Korean-backed conspiracy attempted to crush freedom of speech in the USA and the U.K. It robbed banks around the world".

Park is charged with conspiracy and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

"Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims "unwavering faith in President Trump".

The email services were used for routine business as well as for phishing attacks and other crimes by a company identified as the Korean Expo Joint Venture that's a front group for the North Korean government, according to a Justice Department complaint filed in Los Angeles on Thursday.




The attacks are alleged to have been carried out from North Korea, China and other countries.

It is unlikely Park will be extradited since the United States has no formal relations with North Korea.

A lengthy 179-page affidavit [PDF] from the special agent in charge of the investigation gives an extensive rundown of how the attacks were tracking back to Hyok, his hacking group, and eventually the North Korean government. ".These charges send a message that we will track down malicious actors no matter how or where they hide".

Computers at hospitals and GP surgeries in 48 NHS trusts were frozen a year ago by the WannaCry ransomware virus - which demanded a bitcoin payment for users to regain access.

United States prosecutors have charged a North Korean man alleged to have been involved in creating the malicious software used to cripple the UK's National Health Service.

Investigators were able to track down the hackers by tracing their origin to a segment of some 1,024 internet protocol addresses assigned to North Korea.

The Obama administration officially blamed North Korea for the attack and imposed sanctions against the country, but the Park charges are the first brought over the intrusion.

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