USA indicts North Korean agents for WannaCry, Sony attacks

United States Attorney Tracy Wilkison announces a criminal complaint being filed against a North Korean national accused in a series of destructive cyberattacks around the world at a news conference in Los Angeles Thursday Sept. 6 2018. The complaint

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

The United States charged a North Korean computer programmer with some of the most dramatic global hacking cases of recent years, alleging they were carried out on behalf of the regime in Pyongyang.

"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.

"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.

The charges, part of a strategy by the USA government to deter future cyberattacks by naming and shaming the alleged perpetrators, also alleged that the North Korean hacker broke into the central bank of Bangladesh in 2016, according to a criminal complaint. It also led to the cancelled release of the film The Interview.

Among the emails released in the hack was an exchange between Amy Pascal, then co-chairman of the studio, and "The Social Network" producer Scott Rudin where they joked about what might be then-President Barack Obama's favourite movies, listing "12 Years a Slave" and films by black comedian Kevin Hart.

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

The hackers used the same aliases and accounts from the Sony attack when they sent spear-phishing emails to several US defence contractors, including Lockheed Martin, and others in South Korea, officials said.

United States Attorney Tracy Wilkison announces a criminal complaint being filed against a North Korean national accused in a series of destructive cyberattacks around the world at a news conference in Los Angeles Thursday Sept. 6 2018. The complaint
Justice Department to announce hacking charges against North Korean operative The charge — stemming from the 2014 Sony Pictures case — is the first against a Pyongyang spy.

The U.S. Treasury Department has imposed sanctions against Park and the Chinese-based front company he worked for, Chosun Expo.

Park used a series of online personas for social media platforms, including on Facebook and Twitter, to send malicious links to individuals involved in the production of "The Interview", the complaint said.

The Associated Press reported that a North Korean who is believed to have operated out of China will be among those charged.

"The criminal conduct outlined in this case is intolerable", said Tracy Wilkison, the first assistant US attorney in Los Angeles.

The US government acknowledged that it is unlikely to get their hands on Park Jin Hyok - his last known location was North Korea and the US does not have an extradition treaty with the dictatorship - but argued it was still important to name him and lodge a formal complaint.

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.

The charges were announced as President Trump and his administration negotiations with North Korea to end its nuclear program.

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