Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Federal Bureau of Investigation charges North Korean Park Jin Hyok over WannaCry, Sony cyberattacks

Park Jin Hyok DOJ to announce charges against North Koreans for Sony hack, Wannacry attack
Ebony Burgess | 07 September, 2018, 11:44

The Justice Department is preparing to announce criminal charges in connection with the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014, a USA government official familiar with the case said Thursday.

Park is believed to be part of a unit known as the "Lazarus Group", which the USA alleges is also tied to other spear-phishing campaigns, malware attacks, and the attempted theft of documents and money from banks in Southeast Asia and Africa.

The attacks came after the North sent a letter to the United Nations, . demanding that Sony not move forward with the movie "The Interview" that portrayed the US -backed assassination of a character made to look like North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. It also led to the cancelled release of the film The Interview.

Park, 34, worked for a North Korean government front company called the Korea Expo Joint Venture, according to the complaint.

The hackers stole a cache of emails, which were later publicly released to the embarrassment of studio executives.

The criminal complaint says the hackers committed several attacks from 2014 into 2018, attempting to steal more than $1 billion from banks around the world.

The FBI had long suspected North Korea was also behind the last year's WannaCry cyberattack, which used malware to scramble data at hospitals, factories, government agencies, banks and other businesses across the globe.

The US Justice and Treasury Departments said Park Jin-hyok was "part of the conspiracy" that masterminded those notorious hacks "on behalf of the Government of North Korea or the Workers' Party of Korea".

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A woman using an umbrella struggles against strong wind and rain caused by Typhoon Jebi, in Tokyo , Japan, September 4, 2018. Jebi was expected to make the landfall on the Shikoku island or the Kii peninsula around noon as per an Efe report.

Park Jin Hyok is said to be linked to the Lazarus Group.

The indictment said that Park was on a team of programmers employed an organization called Chosun Expo that operated out of Dalian, China, and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation described as "a government front company".

The DOJ has charged hackers in China, Iran and Russian Federation aiming to dissuade foreign powers from accommodating those who would attack USA corporations.

In 2014, the Obama administration charged five Chinese military hackers with several digital break-ins at United States companies, and a year ago, the Justice Department charged Russian hackers with an intrusion at Yahoo Inc.

He was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud, and another count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

It's unlikely he will be extradited because the US has no formal relations with North Korea.

President Trump, for his part, has been on cosy terms with the North Korean dictator ever since their joint photo-op at a historic summit in June of this year.

Meanwhile, a North Korean official denied the country was responsible for cyber attacks on Sony in an interview with Voice of America. Trump even sent out a tweet this morning thanking Kim for saying nice things about him.

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