US Prosecutors charge 3 North Koreans of stealing billions in cyberattacks

Thursday, February 18
Newsday and Agencies

The U.S. Justice Department has charged three North Korean computer programmers with stealing billions through numerous cyberattacks on financial institutions and other companies.

Jon Chang Hyok, Kim Il and Park Jin Hyok are accused of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud in an unsealed indictment revealed Wednesday. The indictment says the trio carried out the cyberattacks on behalf of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, North Korea’s military intelligence agency.

The trio allegedly conspired to steal as much as $1.3 billion in money and cryptocurrency, including the theft of $81 million via wire transfers from a bank in Bangladesh bank in 2016 and at least $112 million from various cryptocurrency exchanges and financial institutions. 

U.S. prosecutors also said the three hackers are responsible for launching the malicious WannaCry global ransomware attack in 2017, as well as the infamous 2014 attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in retaliation for producing “The Interview,” which depicted the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Park Jin Hyok had been previously charged for the Sony Pictures attack in a separate 2018 complaint.

The trio allegedly carried out their activities from locations in Russia and China.