Park Jin Hyok, North Korean Hacker, Charged For Wannacry Attack

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The Justice Department (DOJ) filed charges against North Korean hacker Park Jin Hyok on Thursday for his role in various attacks, ABC reports.

The DOJ alleges that Park was involved in the 2014 hack of Sony, which stole employee data, including that of many celebrities, and the Wannacry ransomware attack in 2017 which crippled many U.S. businesses for several days.

The FBI also released a wanted poster for Park accusing the North Korean of being “part of a state-sponsored hacking organization responsible for some of the costliest computer intrusions in history.”

Beyond the two high profile attacks, Park is said to have targeted the banking sector around the world beyond just the United States, with the FBI alleging that Park had attempted to steal more than $1 billion over a series of attacks over many years.

The official charges against Park are conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit computer-related fraud, with the federal warrant issued on June 8.

Park has already faced penalties for his alleged involvements in those two attacks with the U.S Department of Treasury handing down sanctions to Park and the company he was working for, Chosun Expo Joint Venture, a company that the FBI alleges is operated by the North Korean government.

The hack of Sony Pictures coincided with the release of The Interview, a comedy which portrayed a fictional attempt to assassinate the North Korean leader, and included issuing terrorist threats for any theater airing the film.

The Wannacry attack was even more vicious, crippling global computer systems when it struck on May 12, 2017. In just three days, the virus had spread to over 200,000 entities in over 150 countries, with North Korea blamed for the attack by the White House.

CNBC also reports that Park was responsible for an attack on Bangladesh Bank in 2016 where his group managed to transfer $81 million. Perhaps the most serious attack that Park is alleged with perpetrating is an attack on the South Korean THAAD Missile defense that the DOJ argues he did while working with the North Korean Reconnaissance General Bureau.

Park is not currently in custody and while his whereabouts are not currently known, he is suspected to be in North Korea where he will no doubt be protected by the government.

The Treasury Department released a strongly-worded statement stating that the United States would hold the North Korean government accountable and “demonstrate to the regime that there is a cost to its provocative and irresponsible actions.”