A North Korean government spy was charged Thursday in connection with cyberattacks including the 2014 Sony hacking scandal, the AP reports. It was the first time the US has brought computer hacking charges against a Pyongyang operative, the Washington Post reports. Park Jin Hyok, accused of hacking on behalf of North Korea’s military intelligence agency, is also allegedly linked to the Lazarus Group, which has been implicated in other cyberattacks including the WannaCry computer virus. He is believed to be in North Korea currently. Also Thursday, the Treasury Department is expected to announce sanctions on North Koreans linked to the attacks.
The 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack paralyzed computers by encrypting files, then demanding money to un-encrypt them. The 2014 Sony attack, among other things, resulted in the release of sensitive internal documents including emails; one executive ultimately lost her job as a result. Sony also canceled its planned release of The Interview, a film about two Americans trying to assassinate Kim Jong Un, as a result of the attack, ABC News reports. Per the New York Times, the US has been attempting to indict the alleged hacker for some time, but since much of the evidence against him is classified, it could not be included in a criminal indictment. (Read more North Korea stories.)