North Korean hacker charged with Sony, WannaCry attacks

Committee Chariman Sen. Chuck Grassley  confers with Sen. Mike Lee  at Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill Sept

DOJ to announce charges against North Koreans for Sony hack, Wannacry attack

Charges are coming Thursday for a North Korean government spy accused in the 2014 Sony cyberhack, U.S. officials say.

Also known as Korea Expo Joint Venture, Chosun Expo is believed to be connected to the RGB's Lab 110; while it provides legitimate programming-for-hire services to foreign customers, the company also is alleged to be home to the Lazarus Group-the malware and hacking group that has been previously connected by United States intelligence and private sector security researchers to the Sony attack, the theft of $81 million from Bangladesh Bank through the SWIFT system (part of an attempted $1 billion theft), and the WannaCry malware.

But the Justice Department alleges that Park was in fact a member of a hacking team known as the "Lazarus Group", which is says is sponsored by the North Korean government.

The FBI said at the time it had recovered evidence connecting North Korea to the attack and others in South Korea.

The North Korean hacker has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud, and another count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Park, 34, worked for a North Korean government front company called the Korea Expo Joint Venture, according to the complaint. "In sum, the scope and damage of the computer intrusions perpetrated, and caused by the subjects of this investigation, including PARK, is virtually unparalleled", said FBI Special Agent Nathan Shields in an affidavit filed in June associated with the indictment.

North Korea has denied the allegations. The move came as Washington seeks to get traction in negotiations with Pyongyang over halting its nuclear weapons program.

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After an impasse of several weeks, earlier on Thursday President Donald Trump indicated in a tweet that talks were moving forward. It also led to the cancelled release of the film The Interview. "We will get it done together!"

The US charged a North Korean programmer on Thursday with some of the most dramatic global hacking cases of recent years, alleging they were carried out on behalf of the regime in Pyongyang.

In addition to targeting Sony, hackers sent spear-phishing emails to employees at AMC Theaters, which had planned to screen the movie, and to a British company producing a fictional television serious about a scientist taken prisoner in North Korea, authorities said.

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 USA -backed assassination of a character made to look like North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Numerous efforts were made to break into banks started in 2015, it was revealed, with the most successful being the removal of $81m from Bangladesh Bank in February 2016.

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.

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