U.S. to charge North Korean over WannaCry, Sony cyber attacks

07 September, 2018, 11:44 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Christopher Polk via Getty Images

"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 charges, part of a strategy by the United States government to deter future cyberattacks by naming and shaming the alleged perpetrators, will also allege that the North Korean hacker broke into the central bank of Bangladesh in 2016, according to the official.

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 U.S. Department of Treasury also announced sanctions on the same individual.

According to the indictment, Park, a North Korean computer programmer, worked for Chosun Expo Joint Venture, an alleged North Korean government front company with offices in North Korea and China, since at least 2002.

The department also sanctioned the agency, stating that all property and interests of both Chosun Expo and Park within the US or in the possession of USA citizens must be frozen.

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It is unlikely Park will be extradited since the U.S. has no formal relations with North Korea. "The United States is committed to holding the regime accountable for its cyber-attacks and other crimes and destabilizing activities".

The Department of Justice is charging a North Korean spy for the infamous Sony hacking that sent shock waves around Hollywood.

US officials believe the Sony hack was retribution for "The Interview", a comedy film that starred Seth Rogen and James Franco and centred on a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un.

He is also charged with conspiring with others to steal $81 million from a bank in Bangladesh, according to the Justice Department's criminal complaint.

The Treasury announcement said that Park and his co-conspirators operated from "North Korea, China, and elsewhere to perpetrate these malicious activities".

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When Sony Pictures's internal servers were hacked in November of 2014, exposing early edits of various TV shows and countless sensitive emails, there was speculation that the North Koreans may have been behind it as retaliation for the movie The Interview.

The hackers also targeted technology and virtual currency industries, as well as academia and electric utilities, authorities said.

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.

President Trump's administration blamed the rogue regime late previous 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. "We will get it done together!"

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