In a First, US to Charge North Korean Spy

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The suspected hacker, Pak Jin Hyok, acted on behalf of the Hermit Kingdom's Reconnaissance General Bureau, the military intelligence agency that controls most of the country's cyber capabilities, The Washington Post reported, citing U.S. officials.

Officials say Park at times traveled to neighboring China and conducted work under a front company called Chosun Expo.

U.S. prosecutors have charged a North Korean man alleged to have been involved in creating the malicious software used to cripple the UK's National Health Service.

"In sum, the scope and damage of the computer intrusions perpetrated and caused by the subjects of this investigation, including Park, is virtually unparalleled", said FBI Agent Nathan P. Shields in an affidavit submitted to a federal magistrate in Los Angeles.

Trump met with leader Kim Jong Un earlier this year and has sought to secure a full commitment from the country to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.


The move against the North Korean hacker came as the USA seeks to get traction in negotiations with Pyongyang over halting its nuclear weapons programme. Google, Walker wrote, "identifies bad actors, disables their accounts, warns our users about them, and shares intelligence with other companies and law enforcement officials".

On Thursday, the Treasury Department also is expected to announce sanctions on North Korea individuals linked to the malicious activities.

Park, whose age is not known, is charged with two counts alleging conspiracies to commit computer and wire fraud - crimes that could carry a prison term up to 25 years.

Numerous efforts were made to break into banks started in 2015, it was revealed, with the most successful being the removal of $81m from Bangladesh Bank in February 2016.

The attack did not target the NHS specifically: about 300,000 computers at businesses and organisations in more than 100 countries were affected.


The Associated Press reported that a North Korean who is believed to have operated out of China will be among those charged.

The charges were brought against Park as the Trump administration seeks to improve relations with North Korea.

It's been a year and half since he launched a ransomware attack that hit hundreds of thousands of computers across the globe.

Meanwhile, a North Korean official denied the country was responsible for cyber attacks on Sony in an interview with Voice of America. Investigators discovered his CV and tracked his activities.

The Korean Expo Joint Venture engaged both in hacking and regular business, working with clients on software and information technology projects and using free email services including Gmail, according to the criminal complaint.


Regarding the WannaCry ransomeware attack that disrupted computer networks around the world, the complaint states that forensic analysis linked that attack to hackers who carried out the Sony and Bangladesh Bank attacks and the targeting of USA defense contractors.

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