America to North Korea: We've spied your hacking spy

Christopher Polk via Getty Images

It details how the group used multiple Gmail accounts and went to some lengths to cover their tracks but left a series of electronic breadcrumbs that ultimately led to the hackers and an email account that North Korean government officials were also seen to be using, making the connection to the government.

The DOJ charged Park Jin Hyok as the mastermind behind the 2014 cyber attack that exposed tons of the studio's internal emails.

The United States charged a North Korean computer programmer with some of the most dramatic global hacking cases of recent years, alleging they were carried out on behalf of the regime in Pyongyang.

The FBI had long suspected North Korea was also behind the last year's WannaCry cyberattack, which used malware to scramble data at hospitals, factories, government agencies, banks and other businesses across the globe.

"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 suspected hacker, Pak Jin Hyok, acted on behalf of the Hermit Kingdom's Reconnaissance General Bureau, the military intelligence agency that controls most of the country's cyber capabilities, The Washington Post reported, citing USA officials. Sony cancelled the theatrical release of the film amid threats to moviegoers but released it online through YouTube and other sites. "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".

The hackers used the same aliases and accounts from the Sony attack when they sent spear-phishing emails to several USA defence contractors, including Lockheed Martin, and others in South Korea, officials said. There has been no communication between the US and North Korean government about a possible extradition, the official said.




Cybersecurity experts have said portions of the WannaCry program used the same code as malware previously distributed by the hacker collective known as the Lazarus Group, which is believed to be responsible for the Sony hack.

On Thursday, the Treasury Department also is expected to announce sanctions on North Korea individuals linked to the malicious activities.

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

The entertainment groups were targeted because of movies that depict the North Korean government unflatteringly.

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

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

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