North Korea Sony hack: Justice Department to announce hacking charges

07 September, 2018, 01:27 | Author: Leah Owens
  • The Department of Justice is charging a North Korean spy for the infamous Sony hacking that sent shock waves around Hollywood

The US justice department is poised to announce charges in connection with the hack of Sony in 2014.

Park Jin Hyok was part of a hacking group that conducted some of the most destructive recent online attacks in the world, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Thursday.

The attacks came after Pyongyang sent a letter to the United Nations, demanding that Sony not move forward with the movie "The Interview" that portrayed the US -backed assassination of a character made to look like North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"This was one of the most complex and longest cyberinvestigations the department has taken", said John Demers, assistant attorney general for national security.

The Treasury Department also announced Thursday that it would impose sanctions against Park and the Korean Expo Joint Venture.

Park is also charged with being involved in numerous other attacks, including an alleged targeting of South Korean figures and Lockheed Martin, which officials noted runs a missile defense system in South Korea.

The suspected hacker, Pak Jin Hyok, acted on behalf of the Hermit Kingdom's Reconnaissance General Bureau, the military intelligence agency that controls most of the country's cyber capabilities, The Washington Post reported, citing U.S. officials.

United States officials long believed the attack was retribution for The Interview, a comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco about a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader.

Sony wound up canceling the theatrical release after threats were made to theaters. The complaint alleges Park, working for a North Korean government front company best known as Korea Expo Joint Venture, or KEJV, worked to support the North Korean government's malicious cyber activities.

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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 Trump White House also announced a year ago that it believed North Korea was behind for the WannaCry attack, which spread rapidly through hundreds of thousands of computers in more than 150 countries last May.

The North Korean government has repeatedly denied responsibility for the hack but called it "a righteous deed".

No North Korean government officials were referenced in the complaint by name, though it does allege the government sponsored the attacks.

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

Earlier on Thursday, President Donald Trump praised North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un on Twitter.

The DOJ has charged hackers in China, Iran and Russian Federation aiming to dissuade foreign powers from accommodating those who would attack USA corporations.

"Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims "unwavering faith in President Trump".

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