North Korean 'spy' charged over NHS cyber attack

07 September, 2018, 01:29 | Author: Juana Mckenzie
  • DOJ to announce charges against North Koreans for Sony hack, Wannacry attack

Pak is linked to the Lazarus Group, which also has been implicated in the brazen attempt to use cyber techniques to swipe $1 billion from the Bangladesh Bank in 2016, and to the WannaCry computer virus that infiltrated more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries in 2017.

Mr Park is charged with one count for conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse, and wire fraud.

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

The Justice Department unveiled criminal charges related to the hacking against Park.

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Officials state in the complaint that Park was working for a front company named the Korean Expo Joint Venture, which worked on behalf of North Korean intelligence and was charged with generating revenue for the military branch.

Activity from Park's real-name Chosun Expo account and numerous accounts tied to Lazarus Group activity originated from the same Internet addresses in North Korea.

The complaint also alleges that Park was in China in 2014, but returned to North Korea shortly before the Sony attack. Authorities have said previously that North Korea was responsible for the cyber-attack.

The Treasury Department also added Park Jin Hyok's name to their sanction list, which prohibits banks that do business in the US from providing accounts to him or Chosun Expo. "The United States is committed to holding the regime accountable for its cyber-attacks and other crimes and destabilizing activities".

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The complaint was filed under seal on June 8, just days before a historic summit in Singapore between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

President Barack Obama, angered by what he saw as an attack on free speech, directed that sanctions be imposed on Pyongyang. North Korean hackers stole and released confidential information and emails in the hack, and infamously pressured the studio to pull the theatrical release of the satirical movie "The Interview", which depicted the eventual assassination of a North Korean leader.

President Trump's administration blamed the rogue regime late past year for the WannaCry ransomware attack that infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide in May 2017 and crippled parts of Britain's National Health Service.

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

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The charges against Park Jin Hyok are a "culmination of extended and complex enquiries made by the NCA and law enforcement partners in the US", said the NCA's Paul Hoare. "Despite efforts to hide his identity and the subjects' efforts to isolate the Chosun Expo Accounts from operational accounts that they used with aliases to carry on their hacking operations", the Federal Bureau of Investigation affidavit states, "there are numerous connections between these sets of accounts".

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