The indictment alleges that Park took part in these attacks, as well as attacks on including USA defense contractors, university faculty, technology companies, virtual currency exchanges, and US electric utilities, as well as attempted financial institution attacks over the past four years. In 2016 and 2017, Park's targets included defence contractor Lockheed Martin. Prosecutors said the complaint was sealed for a variety of reasons and wasn't done to prevent derailing the Singapore talks. The studio eventually posted it on YouTube, a remarkable turn of events for a major wide release in a time before Netflix streaming Will Smith and Michael Bay movies.
In the attack on Bangladesh Bank, described as the largest cybertheft from a financial institution, the hackers stole $81 million, according to the complaint. "The North Korean-backed conspiracy attempted to crush freedom of speech in the USA and the U.K. It robbed banks around the world".
In addition to these criminal charges, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Park and KEJV under Executive Order 13722 based on the malicious cyber and cyber-enabled activity outlined in the criminal complaint.
A lengthy 179-page affidavit [PDF] from the special agent in charge of the investigation gives an extensive rundown of how the attacks were tracking back to Hyok, his hacking group, and eventually the North Korean government.
"This group's actions are particularly egregious as they targeted public and private industries worldwide - stealing millions of dollars, threatening to suppress free speech, and crippling hospital systems", FBI Director Christopher Wray said.
On Capitol Hill, Sen.
USA officials believed the Sony hack was retribution for "The Interview", a comedy film that starred Seth Rogen and James Franco and centered on a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un.
Last year, the WannaCry ransomware attack affected thousands of businesses across the globe through a computer virus that encrypted files on affected systems, including Britain's National Health Service, where nonfunctional computer systems forced the cancellation of thousands of appointments. "Kim showed the world both how small he was and how capable his cyber soldiers can be". The RGB is the agency that oversees "Unit 121" and "Lab 110", North Korea's cyber warfare units.
Park, whose age is not known, is charged with two counts alleging conspiracies to commit computer and wire fraud - crimes that could carry a prison term up to 25 years. However, he is presumed to be in North Korea. But officials underscored that North Korea's growing cyber offensive capabilities also remain a concern. "If they don't, this president will act on behalf of the United States". The Treasury Department simultaneously imposed sanctions against Park and his employer. Investigators discovered his CV and tracked his activities. The company, affiliated with North Korean military intelligence, does a mix of state-sponsored hacking and innocuous paid coding work, according to the complaint. It also led to the cancelled release of the film The Interview. Sony eventually opted not to release the film in theaters, releasing it instead via digital downloads.
The bank cyber heist in Bangladesh involved transferring the funds to accounts in the Philippines then laundered through multiple bank accounts, a money remitting business, and casino junkets.
The attacks came after Pyongyang sent a letter to the United Nations, demanding that Sony not move forward with a movie comedy that portrayed the US-backed assassination of a character made to look like North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Hyok allegedly worked with the Korea Expo Joint Venture for more than a decade.
South Korea eventually pulled out of the venture and North Korea continued the company that is known to supply various items and services, including software and gambling-related products.