The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced in an official statement that it has charged three hackers from the communist North Korean Communist intelligence service with leading a major conspiracy to steal $1.2 billion worldwide.
The (DOJ) unsealed an indictment on Feb. 17 that expands charges to the pre-existing case that included a November 2014 hack targeting Sony Pictures Entertainment for the comedy film “The Interview”; a February 2016 cybertheft of $81 million from Bangladesh Bank; the global attack known as Wanna Cry 2.0 in May 2017; and other minor thefts.
The hacking indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles alleges that Jon Chang Hyok, Kim Il, and Park Jin Hyok, were members of units of the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB), a military intelligence agency of the North Korean regime, which engaged in hacking.
According to the prosecutors’ indictment, the RGB and its pirates, are deeply tied to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Russia and often work from there.
Federal prosecutors today also unsealed an indictment charging Ghaleb Alaumary, 37, of Ontario, Canada, for his role as a money launderer for the conspiracy developed by the North Korean hackers.
According to the DOJ statement, Alaumary “agreed to plead guilty in a money laundering scheme and admitted to being a high-level money launderer for multiple criminal schemes, including ATM ‘cash withdrawal’ operations and a cyber-enabled bank heist orchestrated by North Korean hackers.”
Interestingly, early Tuesday, Ha Tae-keung, a member of the South Korean intelligence committee, told reporters that the National Intelligence Service informed him and other lawmakers during a closed-door briefing that North Korea had hacked into the Pfizer laboratory’s database in order to obtain technology on the CCP virus vaccine, News Max reported.
While North Korea has not confirmed its involvement in any of the reported events, it is known to have been involved in a number of high-profile cyberattacks in recent years. Even South Korea’s National Intelligence Service previously claimed to have thwarted attempts by its neighbor to hack into South Korean companies developing CCP Virus vaccines.
The three North Koreans are considered fugitives from justice and are believed to be located in North Korea, according to the FBI.
They are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.