North Korean hacker charged with Sony, WannaCry attacks

North Korean hacker charged with Sony, WannaCry attacks

Clues found in free email services such as Gmail helped USA investigators track down a North Korean hacker charged Thursday with crimes stemming from the 2014 attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment and the 2017 "WannaCry" ransomware operation.

Pak Jin Hyok, who conducted hacking on behalf of North Korea's Reconnaissance General Bureau, the military intelligence agency that controls most of the country's cyber capabilities, is charged in the attack on Sony, according to US officials.

"These activities run afoul of norms of acceptable safe behavior in cyber space and the global community must address them when we can", Demers said, adding that the charges "reflect the department's determination and ability to follow the facts and the law and to hold individuals and nations accountable for their crimes".

The FBI's criminal complaint also said British production company Mammoth Screen had been suffered an electronic intrusion in 2014.

And then countless other attempts were made against Western targets, including hospitals, universities, utility companies, defense contractors, Bitcoin currencies and others. The complaint said: "as with the subjects' cyber-attack on [Sony Pictures], the subjects were successful in causing recipients at Bangladesh Bank to download the payload from their spear-phishing emails". In its annual Worldwide Threat Assessment report released in February, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said Russia, China, Iran and North Korea "will pose the greatest cyberthreats to the United States during the next year". "The North Korean-backed conspiracy attempted to crush freedom of speech in the US and the U.K. It robbed banks around the world".

WannaCry 2.0 was "ransomware" - a form of malicious software - which spread virulently around the world in May 2017, infecting some 300,000 computers in 150 countries.

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


The charges and sanctions came amid President Donald Trump's efforts to negotiate with Kim Jong Un's regime to give up its nuclear arsenal.

Investigators noted that the same devices, IP addresses and encryption keys were used repeatedly in these attacks and domain names hard-coded into the malware were under the control of the hackers - fancug.com was just one example.

The complaint said Park was on a team of programmers employed an organization called Chosun Expo that operated out of Dalian, China, and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation described as "a government front company".

The attacks are alleged to have been carried out from North Korea, China and other countries.

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.

Interested in North Korea?

Regarding the WannaCry ransomeware attack that disrupted computer networks around the world, the complaint states that forensic analysis linked that attack to hackers who carried out the Sony and Bangladesh Bank attacks and the targeting of US defense contractors.

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