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North Korean hackers charged in cyberattack conspiracies

Federal investigators levied new charges against three North Korean computer programmers accused of wide-ranging cyberattacks, including the 2014 Sony Pictures hack and schemes to extort more than $1.3 billion of money and cryptocurrency.

The big picture: The charges Wednesday expand on the FBI's 2018 case on the cyberattacks targeting Sony Pictures and the Wannacry 2.0 ransomware attack.


Driving the news: The Justice Department outlined a range of criminal cyber activities it says were undertaken by operatives working for a North Korean military intelligence agency. The attacks include:

  • Cyberattacks on the entertainment industry, including the attack on Sony Pictures in retaliation for the release of "The Interview," a satire that made fun of Korea's dictatorship.
  • Attempts to steal more than $1.2 billion from banks in multiple countries by hacking their computer networks.
  • Developing malicious cryptocurrency applications — including Celas Trade Pro, WorldBit-Bot, iCryptoFx, Union Crypto Trader, Kupay Wallet, CoinGo Trade, Dorusio, CryptoNeuro Trader, and Ants2Whale — to give the North Korean hackers backdoors into victims’ computers.

What they're saying: "The scope of these crimes by the North Korean hackers are staggering," said Tracy L. Wilkison, acting U.S. Attorney for the central district of California. "They are the crimes of a nation state that has stopped at nothing to extract revenge and obtain money to prop up its regime."

Go deeper: North Korea's hackers are robbing banks

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