North Korea Sony hack: Justice Department to announce hacking charges

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

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

The US Department of Justice alleged the North Korean-backed cyber group had caused major damage. The Justice Department is expected to announce charges against Pak Jin Hyok, accused of hacking on behalf of North Korea's military intelligence agency; he is also allegedly linked to the Lazarus Group, which has been implicated in other cyberattacks, including the WannaCry computer virus.

The hack of the central bank of Bangladesh saw at least $81 million stolen and transferred between a number of accounts in the Philippines and elsewhere, rendering most of it unrecoverable.

Park, who US officials believe is now in North Korea, faces charges that include conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

"The scale and scope of the cyber-crimes alleged by the complaint is staggering and offensive to all who respect the rule of law and the cyber norms accepted by responsible nations", said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.

"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". 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 hacking collective is also blamed for the hack on Sony Pictures in 2014.

"North Korea has demonstrated a pattern of disruptive and harmful cyber activity that is inconsistent with the growing consensus on what constitutes responsible state behavior in cyberspace", the Treasury said in a statement.

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The complaint was filed under seal on June 8, just days before a historic summit in Singapore between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The charges against Park continue a strategy by the US government to generate detailed, legally admissible cases against foreign cyber-attackers who are unlikely to ever stand trial in the United States.

Hours before the anticipated announcement Thursday, Mr. Trump thanked Kim Jong Un for offering glowing words about Mr. Trump. It ultimately led to the ousting of several of Sony's top executives.

Former President Obama had ordered sanctions against North Korea over the Sony attack. The movie theater chain in some cases delayed or canceled screenings of "The Interview" nationwide, Variety at the time reported.

President Trump's administration blamed the rogue regime late past year for the WannaCry ransomware attack that infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide in May 2017 and crippled parts of Britain's National Health Service.

North Korea has denied the allegations.

The charges and sanctions singled out Park in some of the most notorious and damaging hacks in recent years, which had already been unofficially pinned on North Korea.

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