Monday, 24 September, 2018

Department of Justice Charges North Korean Spy for 2014 Sony Hacking

Article intro image Actor Randall Park playing Kim Jong Un in the Sony
| 07 September, 2018, 11:46

Interested in North Korea?

The criminal complaint says the hackers committed several attacks from 2014 into 2018, attempting to steal more than $1 billion from banks around the world. "And it created indiscriminate malware that paralyzed computers and disrupted the delivery of medical care".

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

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

According to the 176-page indictment, Park worked for Chosun Expo Joint Venture, a company tied to a North Korean military intelligence unit called Lab 110.

"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.

A North Korea-registered website bearing that company's name described it as the country's "first internet company", established in 2002.

A 2015 version of the company's website said it focused on gaming, gambling, e-payments and image recognition software.


The investigators revealed that cinema chain AMC was also targeted because it was due to show the film, as well as an unnamed British production company that was also working on a film depicting North Korea.

North Korea has been linked to some of the most high-profile cyberattacks in recent years, and its hack on Sony Pictures Entertainment lead the Obama administration to impose economic sanctionsagainst the country's government agencies and senior officials.

Park, who is believed to be in North Korea, conspired to conduct a series of attacks including the creation of the malware used in the 2017 WannaCry 2.0 global ransomware attack; the 2016 theft of Dollars 81 million from Bangladesh Bank; the 2014 attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment and numerous other attacks or intrusions on entertainment, financial services, defence, technology and virtual currency industries.

Park is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Although the U.S. previously blamed North Korea for the both the WannaCry and Sony Picture cyber attacks, this is the first time federal investigators have publicly named a suspect in the crimes.

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

"Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims 'unwavering faith in President Trump.' Thank you to Chairman Kim".

Meanwhile, a North Korean official denied the country was responsible for cyber attacks on Sony in an interview with Voice of America.

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