The U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned a North Korean national and entity over multiple cyber attacks, which include the high profile hack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014, a press release from the government department read on Thursday.
The sanctions from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) came immediately prior to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) also unveiling a complaint against the same individual named as Park Jin Hyok.
Park, the DOJ says, was involved “in a conspiracy to conduct multiple destructive cyber attacks around the world resulting in damage to massive amounts of computer hardware, and the extensive loss of data, money and other resources .”
Aside from the Sony hack, the 33-year-old North Korean was also alleged by both departments to be involved in the fraudulent transfer of $81 million from a Bangladeshi Bank in 2016 and the ransomware attack known as “WannaCry2.0” which targeted computers around the world and impacted the UK’s National Health Service among others.
This is on top of “numerous other attacks or intrusions on the entertainment, financial services, defense, technology, and virtual currency industries, academia, and electric utilities,” the DOJ said in a press release.
This includes, the press release adds, attacks against U.S. defense contractors including an unsuccessful attempt targeting Lockheed Martin.
“We will not allow North Korea to undermine global cybersecurity to advance its interests and generate illicit revenues in violation of our sanctions,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was quoted as saying in its press release.
“The United States is committed to holding the regime accountable for its cyber-attacks and other crimes and destabilizing activities,” he added.
The designation lists multiple aliases for Park, which include “DAVID, Andoson”, “HENNY, Watson”,”KIM, Hyon U”, “KIM, Hyon Woo”, “KIM, Hyon Wu”, “PAK, Ch’in-hyo’k”, “PAK, Jin Hek”, and “PAK, Jin Hyok”.
According to the departments, Park worked for a company called Chosun Expo Joint Venture (aka Korea Expo Joint Venture), which was also designated by the Treasury on Thursday.
“Park Jin Hyok and his co-conspirators operated from North Korea, China, and elsewhere to perpetrate these malicious activities,” the Treasury said.
The DOJ complaint goes on to allege that Park was part of the well known hacking team called the “Lazarus Group” as well as unveiling other affiliations.
“Chosun Expo Joint Venture had offices in China and the DPRK, and is affiliated with Lab 110, a component of DPRK military intelligence,” the DOJ said.
David Maxwell, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) said the new designations were “a critically important development. Nuclear weapons are so 20th Century. Cyber is the 21st Century.”
“Although there is a significant time lapse between the hack and this indictment, it shows that the U.S. is tracking the North Korea threat, and that despite the current nuclear diplomacy the U.S. will pursue cyber operatives and hacker/criminals who wish to do the U.S. and the U.S. economy harm.”
The U.S. has also previously issued multiple warnings and public notices regarding North Korea’s malicious software and cyber attacks as the DPRK appeared to be expanding its cyber capabilities.
The country has also been widely credited with attacks on South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges in recent years.
Featured image: FBI
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Featured Image: by Comrade Anatolii on 2012-04-23 07:08:19