Friday, February 26, 2021

US fees three North Koreans for main hacks and cyber-thefts

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North Korean intelligence brokers charged with $1.3bn in cyber-heists, extortion, malware and phishing schemes.

The United States Justice Department has charged three pc programmers working for the North Korean navy with utilizing cross-border cyberattacks to boost cash for North Korea and its chief Kim Jong Un.

A federal indictment unsealed in federal court docket in Los Angeles, California alleges Jon Chang-hyok, age 31, Kim Il, age 27, and Park Jin-hyok, age 36, are members of North Korea’s navy intelligence service, the Reconnaissance General Bureau.

The three hackers had been answerable for a wide-ranging sequence of cyberattacks starting in 2014 with the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment and thefts from banks in Asia and Africa the indictment alleges.

The hackers extorted or stole greater than $1.3bn in money and cryptocurrency, the US Justice Department mentioned in a press launch saying the fees.

“The scope of the criminal conduct by the North Korean hackers was extensive and long-running, and the range of crimes they have committed is staggering,” mentioned performing US Attorney Tracy Wilkison.

“The conduct detailed in the indictment are the acts of a criminal nation-state that has stopped at nothing to extract revenge and obtain money to prop up its regime,” Wilkison mentioned.

The North Korean navy hacker items are recognized in cybersecurity circles as “Lazarus Group” and “Advanced Persistent Threat 38 (APT38)”, the Justice Department mentioned.

AP 21048624885410US prosecutors allege Jon Chang-hyok is among the three members of a North Korean navy intelligence company charged with finishing up a broad vary of world hacks concentrating on banks and a film studio [US Department of Justice via AP]

The hackers focused Sony Pictures in retaliation for the comedic film The Interview which had depicted the assignation of North Korea’s chief, in response to the DOJ.

Using faux interbank messages, the hackers tried to steal from monetary establishments in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Taiwan, Mexico, Malta and a number of other African international locations, the indictment alleges.

Other alleged schemes included a $6.1m ATM heist from Bank Islami in Pakistan, creation of the damaging WannaCry ransomware used to extort firms and the UK’s National Health Service.

The North Korean hackers allegedly stole $75m from a Slovenian cryptocurrency firm, $25m from an Indonesian cryptocurrency firm, and nearly $12m from a New York agency utilizing a malicious cryptocurrency again door.

At occasions, the three North Korean hackers labored from areas in different international locations together with Russia and China, the US officers mentioned.

Multiple spear-phishing campaigns focused workers of US defence contractors, vitality, aerospace and know-how firms, in addition to the US Department of State and Department of Defense, officers alleged.

Park Jin-hook had been beforehand charged by US authorities within the Sony Pictures hack and theft in a cyber-heist from Bangladesh’s central financial institution.

In addition to the legal fees, that are unlikely to reach adjudication in any US court docket as a result of the three people are situated in North Korea, the FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security issued a public advisory on the North Korean cryptocurrency malware.


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