North Korean programmer Park Jin Hyok charged over cyber attack on NHS

DOJ to announce charges against North Koreans for Sony hack, Wannacry attack

The leader behind the North Korean cyber activities was identified in a criminal complaint as Park Jin Hyok, head of a North Korean government hacking cell that also carried out the ransomware attack known as WannaCry, and hacks against USA defense contractors, university faculty, technology companies, virtual currency exchanges, and US electric utilities.

Park Jin Hyok, who is believed to be in North Korea, conspired to conduct a series of attacks that also stole $81 million from a bank in Bangladesh, according to charges unsealed in Los Angeles federal court following years of investigation.

"Good. 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", Sasse said. The company released it online through YouTube and other sites. The complaint said there was no evidence Lockheed was breached.

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.

The Justice Department charged Park with one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud, and another count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The move against the North Korean hacker came as the USA seeks to get traction in negotiations with Pyongyang over halting its nuclear weapons programme.

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Park is believed to be somewhere in North Korea, but it emerged on Thursday he has been charged with conspiracy in a Californian court over the attack on the NHS in may previous year which spread to 150 countries.

"Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims 'unwavering faith in President Trump.' Thank you to Chairman Kim".

The named individual - Park Jin Hyok - often visited China to carry out legitimate computer work, the formal complaint notes, before returning to North Korea to continue his hacking work on behalf of his government.

It is unlikely that he will be extradited because the US has no formal relations with North Korea and the North Korean government was not notified about the charges. In other cases the hackers created email accounts in the names of recruiters or high profile execs at one company (like a USA defense contractor), and then used the accounts to send bogus recruitment messages to employees of competitor companies.

President Trump's administration blamed the rogue regime late previous year for the WannaCry ransomware attack that infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide in May 2017 and crippled parts of Britain's National Health Service. Investigators discovered his CV and tracked his activities.

The Obama administration officially blamed North Korea for the attack and imposed sanctions against the country, but the Park charges are the first brought over the intrusion. The malicious links carried North Korean-controlled malware.

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