Department of Justice Charges North Korean Spy for 2014 Sony Hacking

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It ultimately led to the ousting of several of Sony's top executives.

The DOJ charged Park Jin Hyok as the mastermind behind the 2014 cyber attack that exposed tons of the studio's internal emails.

"North Korea has demonstrated a pattern of disruptive and harmful cyber activity that is inconsistent with the growing consensus on what constitutes responsible state behavior in cyberspace", the Treasury said in a statement.

"We will not allow North Korea to undermine global cybersecurity to advance its interests and generate illicit revenues in violation of our sanctions", Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTurkey's Erdoğan: USA behaving like "wild wolves" amid sanctions Senate delays Amazon hearing pending Postal Service review: report Trump moves toward public report on Postal Service overhaul by year's end MORE said in a statement.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers described the probe as one of the lengthiest and thorough cyber investigations in the division's history.

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The Justice Department is expected to announce charges against Pak Jin Hyok, accused of hacking on behalf of North Korea's military intelligence agency; he is also allegedly linked to the Lazarus Group, which has been implicated in other cyberattacks, including the WannaCry computer virus.

Sony wound up canceling the theatrical release after threats were made to theaters.

"It's been four years since North Korea's petty little despot hacked Sony Pictures because he didn't like a movie that a free and open society produced".

Park used a series of online personas for social media platforms, including on Facebook and Twitter, to send malicious links to individuals involved in the production of "The Interview", the complaint said. According to the DOJ's complaint, the North Korean agent worked through a front company called Chosun Expo Joint Venture and operated out of both North Korea and China.

The Treasury Department also announced Thursday that it is sanctioning Park, "for having engaged in significant activities undermining cybersecurity through the use of computer networks or systems against targets outside of North Korea" on behalf of the government.

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Meanwhile, a North Korean official denied the country was responsible for cyber attacks on Sony in an interview with Voice of America.

No North Korean government officials were referenced in the complaint by name, though it does allege the government sponsored the attacks.

The entertainment groups were targeted because of movies that depict the North Korean government unflatteringly. There has been no communication between the US and North Korean government about a possible extradition, the official said.

The Justice Department in recent years has charged hackers from China, Iran and Russian Federation in hopes of publicly shaming other countries for sponsoring cyber attacks on American corporations.

Thursday's charges come on the same day that President Donald Trump praised the North Korean leader.

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