Justice Dept. Set to Announce Charges in Sony Pictures Hack

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A computer programmer allegedly working for the North Korean government has been charged in the United States with a series of massive cyberattacks around the world, including the WannaCry ransomware that infected computers in 150 countries and Dollars 81 million bank heist in Bangladesh.

"This has nothing to do with the summit and nothing to do with denuclearization", Wilkison said.

The Justice Department says Park and other unnamed co-conspirators were involved in a barrage of cyber attacks that also involved an $81 million heist on the Bank of Bangladesh in 2016 and attempts to infiltrate companies such as Lockheed Martin.

The North Koreans undertook the Sony hack, U.S. officials say, in retaliation for the Sony comedy film "The Interview", about a scheme to assassinate the North Korean leader.

Sony wound up canceling the theatrical release after threats were made to theaters. He returned to North Korea shortly before the Sony hack, according to the complaint.

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The hackers stole a cache of emails, which were later publicly released to the embarrassment of studio executives.

The attacks, the indictment said, were conducted from North Korea, China and other countries. The investigation is continuing.

The hackers also targeted technology and virtual currency industries, as well as academia and electric utilities, authorities said. They also destroyed much of Sony's computer infrastructure.

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.

The Justice Department in recent years has charged hackers from China, Iran and Russian Federation in hopes of publicly shaming other countries for sponsoring cyber attacks on American corporations.

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"OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) designated the North Korean computer programmer Park Jin Hyok for having engaged in significant activities undermining cyber security through the use of computer networks or systems against targets outside of North Korea on behalf to the Government of North Korea or the Workers' Party of Korea", an official statement by the US Treasury Department said.

In 2014, the Obama administration charged five Chinese military hackers with several digital break-ins at USA companies, and previous year, the Justice Department charged Russian hackers with an intrusion at Yahoo Inc.

Park is charged with conspiracy and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The charges were brought against Park as the Trump administration seeks to improve relations with North Korea.

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. Trump even sent out a tweet this morning thanking Kim for saying nice things about him.

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