North Korean intelligence agents charged with $ 1.3 billion in cyber-heists, extortion, malware and phishing.
The United States Department of Justice has accused three computer programmers working for the North Korean military of using cross-border cyber attacks to raise funds for North Korea and its leader Kim Jong Un.
Unsealed federal indictment in federal court in Los Angeles, Calif. Alleges that Jon Chang-hyok, 31, Kim Il, 27, and Park Jin-hyok, 36, are members of the intelligence service North Korean military, the General Reconnaissance Bureau.
The three hackers were responsible for a massive spate of cyberattacks starting in 2014 with the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment and thefts from banks in Asia and Africa, according to the indictment.
Hackers extorted or stolen more than $ 1.3 billion in cash and cryptocurrency, the US Department of Justice said in a press release announcing the charges.
“The scope of the criminal conduct of North Korean hackers was wide and long-standing, and the range of crimes they committed is staggering,” said Acting US Prosecutor Tracy Wilkison.
“The conduct detailed in the indictment is the act of a criminal nation-state that has stopped at nothing to seek revenge and obtain money to support its regime,” Wilkison said.
North Korean military hacker units are known in cybersecurity circles as “Lazarus Group” and “Advanced Persistent Threat 38 (APT38),” the Justice Department said.
Hackers Sony Pictures targeted in retaliation for the comedy film The Interview which depicted the appointment of the North Korean leader, according to the DOJ.
Using bogus interbank messages, hackers attempted to rob financial institutions in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Taiwan, Mexico, Malta and several African countries, according to the indictment.
Other alleged ploys included a $ 6.1 million heist at the Bank Islami ATM in Pakistan, the creation of the destructive WannaCry 2.0 ransomware used to extort businesses and the UK’s National Health Service.
North Korean hackers allegedly stole $ 75 million from a Slovenian cryptocurrency firm, $ 25 million from an Indonesian cryptocurrency firm and nearly $ 12 million from a New York business using a backdoor of malicious cryptocurrency.
Sometimes the three North Korean hackers worked from sites in other countries, including Russia and China, US officials said.
Multiple harpooning campaigns have targeted employees of U.S. defense contractors, energy, aerospace and tech companies, as well as the U.S. State Department and the Defense Department, officials alleged.
Park Jin-hook had previously been indicted by US authorities in hacking and stealing Sony Pictures in a cyber robbery of the Bangladesh central bank.
In addition to the criminal charges, which are unlikely to be tried in a US court because the three people are located in North Korea, the FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security have issued a public advisory on the northern cryptocurrency malware. -Korean.