DOJ charges North Korean national over Sony hack

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

It ultimately led to the ousting of several of Sony's top executives.

"This complaint exposes a vast and audacious scheme by the North Korean government to utilise computer intrusions as a means to support the varied goals of their regime", said Paul Delacourt from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Also Thursday, the Treasury Department is expected to announce sanctions on North Koreans linked to the attacks. The RGB is the agency that oversees "Unit 121" and "Lab 110", North Korea's cyber warfare units.

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.

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 charges against Park Jin Hyok are a "culmination of extended and complex enquiries made by the NCA and law enforcement partners in the US", said the NCA's Paul Hoare. Asked if any of Park's attacks were launched from China by North Korea, a Justice Department official said, "there's nothing in the complaint alleged on that".

The DOJ charged Park Jin Hyok as the mastermind behind the 2014 cyber attack that exposed tons of the studio's internal emails.

"We can't forget this was the cyber equivalent of a hostile foreign government dropping a bomb on the Sony Pictures lot in the middle of the night", said Josh Campbell CNN analyst and former FBI Supervisory Special Agent who assisted with the Sony investigation. The malicious links carried North Korean-controlled malware.

"Good", said Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The complaint also alleges that Park was in China in 2014, but returned to North Korea shortly before the Sony attack.

Last year, the WannaCry ransomware attack affected thousands of businesses across the globe through a computer virus that encrypted files on affected systems, including Britain's National Health Service, where nonfunctional computer systems forced the cancellation of thousands of appointments. Kim showed the world both how small he was and how capable his cyber soldiers can be.

North Korea routinely denies being involved in hack attacks attributed to them.

Officials insist that the timing of the unsealing of the criminal complaint has nothing to do with the June summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump, or with the push to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

Trump met with leader Kim Jong Un earlier this year and has sought to secure a full commitment from the country to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

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