North Korean hacker charged with Sony, WannaCry attacks

DOJ to announce charges against North Koreans for Sony hack, Wannacry attack

The attack took place before the release of the comedy film The Interview, which depicts a fictional Central Intelligence Agency plot to kill North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un.

Confidential employee information, emails and details of some stars' earnings were revealed in the embarrassing data breach.

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. "Some of the operational accounts were used in the name "Kim Hyon Woo" (or variations of that name), an alias that the subjects used in connection with the targeting of and cyber-attacks on SPE, Bangladesh Bank, and other victims".

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Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers described the probe as one of the lengthiest and thorough cyber investigations in the division's history.

Park Jin Hyok, who is believed to be in North Korea, conspired with others to conduct a series of attacks that also stole $81 million from a bank in Bangladesh, according to the Justice Department's criminal complaint.

Sony canceled the release of the film amid threats to moviegoers.

The Treasury Department also announced Thursday that it is sanctioning Park, "for having engaged in significant activities undermining cybersecurity through the use of computer networks or systems against targets outside of North Korea" on behalf of the government.

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A North Korean man has been identified as part of a group that hacked the NHS, as well as allegedly being responsible for hacks on Sony Pictures and the theft of $81m (£62m) from a bank.

The entertainment groups were targeted because of movies that depict the North Korean government unflatteringly.

The attacks are alleged to have been carried out from North Korea, China and other countries. The complaint alleges Park, working for a North Korean government front company best known as Korea Expo Joint Venture, or KEJV, worked to support the North Korean government's malicious cyber activities.

The Justice Department in recent years has charged hackers from China, Iran and Russian Federation in hopes of publicly shaming other countries for sponsoring cyber attacks on American corporations. There has been no communication between the USA and North Korean government about a possible extradition, the official said.

The criminal complaint, filed in Los Angeles, alleges that the hackers committed several attacks from 2014 until 2018.

In 2014, for instance, the Obama administration charged five Chinese military hackers with a series of digital break-ins at American companies, and past year, the Justice Department charged Russian hackers with an intrusion at Yahoo Inc.

It is unlikely that he will be extradited because the US has no formal relations with North Korea and the North Korean government was not notified about the charges.

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