North Korean 'spy' charged over NHS cyber attack

07 September, 2018, 01:28 | Author: Shannon Newton
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Reports at the time suggested the hackers were working on behalf of North Korea in retaliation for The Interview, a spoof which riffed on a fictional Central Intelligence Agency plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

According to multiple media reports, the Department of Justice plans to announce formal charges against North Korean nationals in a news conference at 10AM PT. Officials will lay out a case showing a far-reaching scheme perpetrated by the isolated nation, a stance that is starkly different from the warm-and-fuzzy view of the ruthless regime expressed recently by President Donald Trump.

The Justice Department has charged a North Korean cyber-operative with attacks and mayhem that prosecutors say was carried out under orders from Kim Jong Un.

"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", said John Demers, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

The charges, part of a strategy by the US government to deter future cyberattacks by naming and shaming the alleged perpetrators, also alleged that the North Korean hacker broke into the central bank of Bangladesh in 2016, according to a criminal complaint. Sony was responsible for The Interview, a fictionalized assassination of North Korea's leader.

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Among the emails released in the hack was an exchange between Amy Pascal, then co-chairman of the studio, and "The Social Network" producer Scott Rudin where they joked about what might be then-President Barack Obama's favourite movies, listing "12 Years a Slave" and films by black comedian Kevin Hart.

They named one of the group - called the Lazarus Group by security companies fighting to combat its actions - and put his name, Park Jin Hyok, and face on an FBI Wanted poster, adding that he is now considered a fugitive from justice.

"It's been four years since North Korea's petty little despot hacked Sony Pictures because he didn't like a movie that a free and open society produced".

North Korea has denied the allegations.

"The criminal conduct outlined in this case is intolerable", said Tracy Wilkison, the first assistant US attorney in Los Angeles. The malicious links carried North Korean-controlled malware.

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"The department has charged, arrested and imprisoned hackers working for the governments of China, Russia and Iran".

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

It is unlikely that he will be extradited because the USA has no formal relations with North Korea and the North Korean government was not notified about the charges.

The U.S. government on Thursday charged and sanctioned a North Korean man in the 2017 global WannaCry ransomware cyberattack and the 2014 cyberassault on Sony Corp (6758.T) (SNE.N), U.S. officials said.

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