Margaret Carrero

DOJ Announces Charges Against North Korean Hacker in Sony Attack

September 06, 2018 - 12:05 pm

(CBS News/KNX 1070) - The Department of Justice announced charges Thursday against a North Korean government-sponsored hacker over the 2014 Sony Pictures hack.

In a criminal complaint filed earlier this year but only made public Thursday, the DOJ alleges Park Jin Hyok was a member of a hacking group known as the "Lazarus Group" and sponsored by the North Korean government, the DOJ said in a news release. The complaint alleges Park, working for a North Korean government front company best known as Korea Expo Joint Venture, or KEJV, worked to support the North Korean government's malicious cyber activities. 

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 Treasury Department announced sanctions on North Korea for "multiple" cyber attacks in the same day, specifically mentioning Park in its announcement of the sanctions. 

"The complaint charges members of this North Korean-based conspiracy with being responsible for cyberattacks that caused unprecedented economic damage and disruption to businesses in the United States and around the globe," First Assistant United States Attorney Tracy Wilkison said in a statement. "...These charges send a message that we will track down malicious actors no matter how or where they hide. We will continue to pursue justice for those responsible for the huge monetary losses and attempting to compromise the national security of the United States."

The widespread 2014 attack on Sony, conducted by a group calling itself the Guardians of Peace, exposed a number of embarrassing emails between producers and top executives at the movie studio. At the time, CBS News reported that sources said the FBI had definitively traced the attack back to the regime of North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un. 

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

"Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims 'unwavering faith in President Trump.' Thank you to Chairman Kim. We will get it done together!" Mr. Trump tweeted. 

It is unclear why the announcement of the charges was delayed. 

Security expert Adam Levin,  founder of the firm Cyber Scout tells KNX  the Hollywood studios have all improved their computer defenses following the Sony hack.

But he says,  the hackers are getting more sophisticated all the time:

Levin tells us,  it's not surprising that it took 4 years to name a suspect in the Sony attack because tracking down hackers is so difficult.

This story is developing.

Listen to KNX1070 live on the appIf you don’t have the app, download it here.