A computer programmer allegedly working for the North Korean government has been charged in the USA with a series of massive cyberattacks around the world, including the WannaCry ransomware that infected computers in 150 countries and United States dollars 81 million bank heist in Bangladesh.
"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", John Demers, head of the Justice Department's National Security Division, said in a statement.
Regarding the movie The Interview, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said the North Koreans stole a copy of film but instead of releasing it on the internet, the copay was "rendered inoperable" in a bid to prevent release.
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The North Koreans also attempted similar unsuccessful online bank thefts between 2015 and 2018, worth an estimated $1 billion. "Members of the conspiracy are responsible for some of the most damaging and most well known cyber intrusions in history including the cyberattack targeting Sony Pictures, the cyber heist of Bangladesh Bank and creating the WannaCry ransomware".
The Justice Department charged Park with one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud, and another count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The charges were filed under seal June 8, four days before President Donald Trump's historic meeting with North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, to discuss ending decades of hostility between the two countries.
According to the indictment, Park, a North Korean computer programmer, worked for Chosun Expo Joint Venture, an alleged North Korean government front company with offices in North Korea and China, since at least 2002.
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The Treasury Department also announced Thursday that it would impose sanctions against Park and the Korean Expo Joint Venture. The U.S. believes he was working for a North Korean-sponsored hacking organization.
The charges were brought against Park as the Trump administration seeks to improve relations with North Korea. ".These charges send a message that we will track down malicious actors no matter how or where they hide".
The attack most notably locked up the systems of Britain's National Health Service, causing significant damage. Investigators discovered his CV and tracked his activities.
The move against the North Korean hacker came as the United States seeks to get traction in negotiations with Pyongyang over halting its nuclear weapons programme.
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The massive Sony attack was seen at the time as representing a new, aggressive type of hacking operation because it crippled computers, deleted data and released embarrassing internal emails in retaliation for the company's film, "The Interview", a comedy about a Central Intelligence Agency plot to kill Kim.