13:47 GMT +314 December 2018
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    Justice Department Charges Alleged North Korean Hacker for WannaCry, Sony Hacks

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    The US Department of Justice accused Park Jin Hyok of being behind some of the most significant cyber attacks in modern history as well as the 2014 assault on Sony Pictures, the WannaCry virus and the largest cyber-heist in history.

    A senior Department of Justice official said on the conference call with reporters that Park, 34 is accused of being the part of a conspiracy to hack and working for Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB) – a North Korea military intelligence agency that believed to be in control of the country’s cyber capabilities. North Korea denied all allegations.

    READ MORE: Put Up or Shut Up: North Korea UN Envoy Demands US Prove WannaCry Claims

    “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,” claimed Assistant Attorney General John Demers.

    The charges against Park came with a 179-page complaint filed in June as President Trump addressed North Korea to fully abandon its nuclear weapons program. They were released only on Thursday, as the Treasury Department also imposed sanctions against Park and the Chosun Expo Joint Venture, a company that the Department of Justice official accused of generating revenue for North Korean military intelligence. The sanctions allow the United States to seize any of Expo Joint Venture assets in the United States and prohibit American citizens from any taking part in any transactions with them.

    "We will not allow North Korea to undermine global cybersecurity to advance its interests and generate illicit revenues in violation of our sanctions," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, adding that "the United States is committed to holding the regime accountable for its cyber attacks and other crimes and destabilizing activities."

    It is the first time that Washington says it is accusing a North Korean governmental operative of hacking-related charges. Park is said to have been educated in North Korea as a programmer, worked an operative since at least 2002 on behalf of Lab 110, or Bureau 110, one of the government’s hacking organizations, the complaint claims. It also states that he worked in the Chinese city of Dalian near the North Korean border from 2011 to 2013 before returning to North Korea in 2014 prior to the Sony attacks.

    Park and operatives, who were not named but were said to be the members of the Lazarus Group, were accused of attempting to steal $1 billion from the Bangladesh Bank in 2016, which FBI investigators called "the biggest cyber-heist in history." The DOJ also accused Park of a hack attack on Sony Pictures in 2014. The Sony documents leak was alleged to be related to the anger over the studio’s comedy film “The Interview” telling the story about an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un. The release of thousands of Sony emails led to the resignation of Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal. Lazarus Group is also said to be the one who created and spread the WannaCry 2.0 virus that affected more than 230,000 in 150 countries in 2017.

    Related:

    Reports: US to Indict N Korean Hackers Allegedly Responsible For Wannacry Attack
    Accidental WannaCry Hero Was 'Forced to Confess' - Occupy the Web
    Put Up or Shut Up: North Korea UN Envoy Demands US Prove WannaCry Claims
    'Grave Political Provocation': Pyongyang Rejects US WannaCry Attack Allegations
    Analyst Dismisses White House Claims Pyongyang Behind WannaCry
    Tags:
    WannaCry, hack attacks, hacker group, Hackers, North Korea, Department of Justice, Sony Pictures, Steven Mnuchin, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), United States
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