US Charges North Korean for WannaCry, Sony Picture Hacks

US Charges North Korean for WannaCry, Sony Picture Hacks

The US charged a North Korean programmer on Thursday (Sep 6) with some of the most dramatic global hacking cases of recent years, alleging they were carried out on behalf of the regime in Pyongyang.

"This has nothing to do with the summit and nothing to do with denuclearization", Wilkison said.

He is linked to the notorious Lazarus Group, which has also been implicated in the audacious attempt to use cyber techniques to steal $1 billion from the Bangladesh Bank in 2016, and to the WannaCry computer virus that affected more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries previous year.

The North Koreans undertook the Sony hack, United States officials say, in retaliation for the Sony comedy film "The Interview", about a scheme to assassinate the North Korean leader. Sony canceled the theatrical release of the film amid threats to moviegoers but released it online through YouTube and other sites. "It's been four years since North Korea's petty little despot hacked Sony Pictures because he didn't like a movie that a free and open society produced".

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

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

The hacking collective is also blamed for the hack on Sony Pictures in 2014. "Terms you'll see in the complaint, such as watering holes and back doors, don't sound menacing, but in reality they describe malicious cyber techniques that wreak havoc on our computer systems and our lives".

Officials say Park at times traveled to neighboring China and conducted work under a front company called Chosun Expo.

Activity from Park's real-name Chosun Expo account and numerous accounts tied to Lazarus Group activity originated from the same Internet addresses in North Korea.

The Justice Department in recent years has charged hackers from China, Iran and Russian Federation in hopes of publicly shaming other countries for sponsoring cyberattacks on U.S. corporations.

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Thursday's announcement marks the first time U.S. prosecutors have brought criminal charges against an official associated with the Sony breach and other attacks, with the DOJ targeting North Korean computer programmer Park Jin Hyok.

The computer fraud charge carries a maximum of five years in prison, while the wire fraud would mean up to 20 years.

The charges were brought against Park as the Trump administration seeks to improve relations with North Korea.

"Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims "unwavering faith in President Trump", the 45th president of the United States tweeted.

The North Korean government was not notified about the charges, which are likely to be a source of irritation.

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