Federal prosecutors in the U.S. announced Wednesday that they have charged three North Korean computer programmers, for a broad range of global hacks.
This includes a destructive attack targeting Sony Pictures, and an extortion scheme aimed at attempting to steal more than 1.3 billion U.S. dollars from banks and other financial institutions.
The latest charges also build off earlier charges from 2018.
"The indictment we're announcing today builds on the charges in the 2018 complaint, which describes how members of the conspiracy were responsible for several highly destructive and well-known computer intrusions, including the cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment right here in our community. (CUT) Some of these intrusions occurred as recently as a few months ago, using newly identified strains of malware uncovered by the FBI as part of this investigation."
Prosecutors say all three are members of a North Korean military intelligence agency known as the Reconnaissance General Bureau , and said they carried out hacks on behalf of the regime, with a goal of using stolen funds to benefit North Korea.
However, none of the three hackers are in American custody, and won't be prosecuted in the U.S.
Instead, the Justice Department finds value in the latest indictments as a message to hackers that they are not anonymous and can be identified.
North Korean military hacking units are known by multiple names in the cybersecurity community, including Lazarus Group and APT 38.
Prosecutors say the three hackers were at times stationed by the North Korean government in other countries, including China and Russia.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.