In 2014 a massive cyber attack on Sony was carried out, it now appears at least one of the perpetrators was North Korean Park Jin Hyok. In the attack on Sony, hackers including Hyok, linked to North Korea wiped data from thousands of computers, stole confidential emails whose contents forced the resignation of a top executive from Sony, and most alarming of all, pressured the Hollywood studio to pull a satirical film planned for release depicting the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The attack, was allegedly launched in retaliation for the studio’s production of the film, the Interview.
In addition to targeting Sony, hackers sent phishing emails to executives at AMC Theaters, which had planned to screen the movie, and to a British company producing a TV show about a scientist taken prisoner in North Korea, authorities said.
In speaking about the forced withdrawal of the movie The Interview by the hackers, Tracy Wilkison, a senior federal prosecutor in LA where the charges were filed, stated “These were not just attacks against computers, these were attacks against freedom of speech.”
President Barack Obama in 2014, directed that sanctions be imposed on Pyongyang, including on the RGB, or The Reconnaissance General Bureau.
Park Jin Hyok and other unidentified operatives are accused of being members of the Lazarus Group, which also has been alleged to be part of the attempt to steal $81 million from the Bangladesh Bank in 2016, and to the WannaCry 2.0 virus last year.
Park, 34, is a computer programmer educated at a North Korean university who since at least 2002 conducted cyber operations through Chosun Expo on behalf of Lab 110, or Bureau 110, one of the government’s hacking organizations, the complaint states.
Sanctions and criminal charges have been filed, as a result of the sanctions, Park and Chosun Expo Joint Venture’s assets in the U.S. have been frozen. There is no extradition treaty between the US and N. Korea, so the criminal charges unenforceable.