U.S. charges North Korean man linked to Sony hack and WannaCry

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The Justice Department announced charges Thursday against a North Korean man in connection with a series of infamous cyberattacks, including the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment and the WannaCry ransomware attack that paralyzed computers across the globe.

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

Park is believed to be part of a unit known as the "Lazarus Group", which the United States alleges is also tied to other spear-phishing campaigns, malware attacks, and the attempted theft of documents and money from banks in Southeast Asia and Africa.

The 2014 hack against Sony took place ahead of the studio's release of "The Interview", a comedy about a Central Intelligence Agency plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim.

Sony canceled the release of the film amid threats to moviegoers.

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

Park is also charged with being involved in numerous other attacks, including an alleged targeting of South Korean figures and Lockheed Martin, which officials noted runs a missile defense system in South Korea.

The criminal complaint, filed in Los Angeles, alleges that the hackers committed several attacks from 2014 until 2018.

Jin Hyok Park of North Korea, a suspected North Korean hacker in the 2014 cyber attack on Sony Corp, is seen in this Federal Bureau of Investigation photo released in Washington, DC, US, September 6, 2018.

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He and other members of the hacking group, sometimes referred to as the Lazarus Group, allegedly sent spear-phishing messages to their victims, often impersonating potential job applicants, and posted links to malware on Facebook and Twitter.

The hackers also targeted technology and virtual currency industries, as well as academia and electric utilities, authorities said.

Officials say Park at times traveled to neighboring China and conducted work under a front company called Chosun Expo.

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

In 2014, for instance, the Obama administration charged five Chinese military hackers with a series of digital break-ins at American companies, and a year ago, the Justice Department charged Russian hackers with an intrusion at Yahoo Inc.

Specifically, Park has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

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

"Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims "unwavering faith in President Trump".

Hours before the anticipated announcement Thursday, Mr. Trump thanked Kim Jong Un for offering glowing words about Mr. Trump.

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