WASHINGTON – The judicial department on Wednesday accused three Koreas of hacking scores of companies and financial institutions to thwart US sanctions against North Korean officials, illegally giving money to the North Korean government, and controlling American corporations, Which also includes Sony Pictures Entertainment.
The allegation is the latest attempt by the government to show that North Korea has been trying for years to attack and attack institutions around the world, with the United States and its allies also trying to rein in the country and its countries Efforts have intensified. Nuclear ambitions.
One of the officers, Park Jin-hyok, a member of North Korea’s military intelligence agency, charged up In 2018 to participate in Sony hacking by the Justice Department, which crippled the company, as well as the UK’s National Health Service attacked WannaCry CyberBat, and Bangladeshi central banks and financial institutions around the world.
Construction on that inquiry, Department of Justice Mr. Park and two more North Korean spies were involved, John Chang-hyuk and Kim Il, on charges related to those attacks, as well as new allegations that they tried to steal more than $ 1.3 billion in money and digital currencies from financial institutions and companies.
John C., head of the National Security Division of the Department of Justice. “Simply put, the regime has become a criminal syndicate with a flag that steals hundreds of millions of dollars to steal its state’s resources,” Dimmers said in a statement.
Prosecutors declined to say how much money the hackers actually obtained.
Separately, federal prosecutors looted millions of dollars on the 37-year-old Ghalib Aloumari, a dual citizen of the United States and Canada, with a network of people in countries that the North Korean government obtained from hackers. Mr. Alumari pleaded guilty to the charge.
Wednesday’s broad indictment supports one’s findings Report released this month By recorded futureA cybersecurity research group, which concluded that North Korea had expanded its ability to use the Internet to promote its government financially, even as the United States and its allies shut down oil supplies And has imposed strict restrictions on the country.
The report also found that North Korea had greatly improved its ability to steal cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
The allegations make it clear how Pyongyang is exploiting the world of such cryptocurrencies as bitcoin’s value has risen to over $ 50,000 and large corporations and financial institutions have begun to embrace digital currencies.
The Justice Department accused intelligence officials of luring investors into a fake digital coin investment scheme, stealing cryptocurrency from financial institutions, and creating malware to target cryptocurrency apps and control victim computers.
Mr. John and Mr. Kim were accused of working with Mr. Park to conduct illegal hacking schemes from North Korea, China and Russia, when they accused Sony of retaliating the company’s decision to make and release a film “Interview”, which depicted the plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The devastating attack wiped out 70 percent of the company’s computer capabilities, crippled operations and contributed to the resignation of the studio’s president, Amy Pascal.
After Sony’s attack, prosecutors said, the three men used malware-laden phishing emails to gain access to Bangladesh Bank computers, which are connected to the global banking communications system, and eventually to transfer money from Bangladesh Federal directs the Reserve Bank of New York to bank accounts controlled by hackers. They were only able to steal $ 81 million because a Reserve Bank official noticed that the word “foundation” was wrong, investigated the transaction and According to government documents in the case against Mr. Park, the transfer of an additional $ 900 million was withheld.
According to court papers, the three men also used crippled WannaCry malware to infiltrate and cripple the British Health Care System’s computer network and tried to break into the computer networks of US defense contractors.
Those plans were widely known, as did the bulk of the allegations against Mr. Park, which were unveiled three years ago.
But federal prosecutors also revealed new allegations that hackers extorted money from ATMs, resulting in $ 6.1 million stolen from BankIslami Pakistan alone; After being used against the British health system, they used WannaCry ransomware to extort money from victims; And that they tried to make inroads into energy, aerospace and technology companies and state and defense departments, just like last year.
According to the prosecution, the hackers were accused of attempting to steal more than $ 1.2 billion from banks around the world, most recently in 2019, they infiltrated a bank’s computer system in Malta and transferred money Send order for
But some of his most notable plans were cryptocurrency-related.
The trio reportedly created at least nine pieces of malware, disguised as software used for the trade or storage of cryptocurrencies, giving them access to their victims’ computers. Last summer, he used one of these pieces of malware to steal about $ 11.8 million of cryptocurrency from an unspecified New York financial institution, which he also tried to remove.
He also offered an initial coin – essentially an initial public offering to raise money for a new digital coin – for a digital token called Marine Chain Token, which allowed investors to purchase interest in shipping ships. He was accused of using a fake identity to pitch to potential investors in Singapore and planned to approve it publicly traded in Hong Kong, never disclosing that the funds raised from investors were actually Will be used to erase US sanctions against North Korea. Prosecution
And he was accused of stealing tens of millions of dollars of cryptocurrency, including more than $ 111 million from companies in Slovenia, Indonesia and New York.
Mr. Demers said during a news conference that there was little chance that any men living in North Korea would be arrested. But the Justice Department publicly disclosed his identity and the charges against him, he said, to show the public the seriousness of the threats from countries such as North Korea. The department also wanted to demonstrate that it is capable of identifying the perpetrators behind cyber criminals and warning those hackers and the countries supporting them, he said.
Mr. Dimmers said in a statement, “If we remain silent during the election, according to the department, we see whether the nations engage in malicious, norm-defying cybersecurity, or the choice is clear.” “We will charge them.”