Charges have been issued against a man who was reportedly working with the government of North Korea when he allegedly pulled off a series of high-profile cyberattacks including one against Sony Pictures Entertainment.
The AP reports that computer programmer Park Jin Hyok, who is believed to be in North Korea, is accused of working on behalf of the North Korean government not only on the 2014 Sony attack but also on the WannaCry ransomware virus, which affected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide.
Park “conspired with others to conduct a series of attacks that also stole $81 million from a bank in Bangladesh, according to the Justice Department’s criminal complaint. The U.S. believes he was working for a North Korean-sponsored hacking organization,” the AP reports.
The North Korean connection has long been suspected by the U.S. government.
“U.S. officials believe the Sony hack was retribution for ‘The Interview,’ a comedy film that starred Seth Rogen and James Franco and centered on a plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un,” the AP reports. “Sony canceled the theatrical release of the film amid threats to moviegoers but released it online through YouTube and other sites.”
The report notes that it is unlikely Park will be extradited because the U.S. has no formal relations with North Korea.