Published: Fri, September 07, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

United States to charge North Korean hacker over 2014 Sony cyber-attack

United States to charge North Korean hacker over 2014 Sony cyber-attack

The targeting of an entertainment firm behind content that might be embarrassing for Mr Kim's state was also seen with the 2014 Sony Pictures hack.

The charges, part of a strategy by the USA 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.

Another high-profile cyberattack the U.S. believed to be carried out by North Korea was the illicit transfer of $81m from a Bangladeshi bank in 2016. The U.S. Department of Treasury also announced sanctions on the same individual.

A lengthy 179-page affidavit [PDF] from the special agent in charge of the investigation gives an extensive rundown of how the attacks were tracking back to Hyok, his hacking group, and eventually the North Korean government.


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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John Demers, who heads the Justice Department's National Security Division, told reporters on Thursday that it was important to call out hacking activities, as the USA had done against China, Iran and Russian Federation. That comedy film depicted a graphic assassination of Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, and was denounced by the country.

Pak is linked to the Lazarus Group, which also has been implicated in the brazen attempt to use cyber techniques to swipe $1 billion from the Bangladesh Bank in 2016, and to the WannaCry computer virus that infiltrated more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries in 2017.


It's unlikely he will be extradited because the US has no formal relations with North Korea.

North Korea has always been suspected - and accused - of having carried out the Sony hack and being behind the WannaCry ransomware but today those accusations were made formal.

The November 2014 cyber hack of Sony - an attempt to block the release of the provocative comedy, "The Interview", which involved an assassination plot of North Korean leader Kim Jung Un - created an global crisis, filled with extortion attempts, threats to moviegoers and embarrassing leaks of executives' emails that included gossip about the lives of Hollywood celebrities and ultimately, the resignation of Sony Chairwoman Amy Pascal.

The attack most notably locked up the systems of Britain's National Health Service, causing significant damage. 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".


Thursday's charges come on the same day that President Donald Trump praised the North Korean leader. "We will get it done together!"

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