Three of the North Korean intelligence officers who participated in the 2014 hacking of Sony Pictures were indicted by the Department of Justice.
Jon Chang Hyok (전창혁), 31; Kim Il (김일), 27; and Park Jin Hyok (박진혁), 36, have each been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. That first counts carried a sentence of up to five years while the second could put the men behind bars for up to 30 years.
The three men were all members of the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB), a North Korean intelligence agency that hacked into American companies and stole from financial institutions around the world in a years-long campaign meant to wreck global havoc.
“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,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison for the Central District of California. “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.”
Among the brazen attacks carried out by these men and the RGB were :the 2014 hacking of Sony pictures in response to the release of The Interview; attempts from 2015 through 2019 to steal more than $1.2 billion from banks in Southeast Asia, Mexico, and Africa; ATM cash out schemes including one in October 2018 that netted $6.1 million; the creation of destructive ransom used as a means of extorting individuals and companies; the theft of tens of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency from establishments in Slovenia, Indonesia and a financial services company in New York in August 2020.
Per the indictment, this was all done with the aim of causing damage, be it through stealing data or money, as a ways to further the interests of the North Korean government and its leader, Kim Jong Un.
The indictments were filed in December, but were sealed until this week. The spies worked in various countries including China and Russia, federal officials say.
The three suspects are now wanted by the FBI, which released posters about their men and included their pictures.