Cybersecurity

North Korean hacker charged by DOJ for 2014 Sony attack

Despite Trump’s blossoming relationship with Kim Jung Un, the two nations still have a lot of unresolved business and disputes. Adding to this list of issues is The Justice Department’s announcement that cyber-hacking charges have been brought against a North Korean national linked to the computer hacking of Sony in 2014, the WannaCry ransomware attack, along with other significant cyber attacks in a criminal complaint released on Thursday.

For those who may have forgotten, this hack on Sony Pictures Entertainment led the Obama administration to impose economic sanctions against the country’s government agencies and senior officials. This announcement marks the first time US prosecutors have brought criminal charges against an official associated with the infamous Sony breach and other attacks, specifically targeting North Korean computer programmer Park Jin Hyok.

However, a Justice Department official said there has been no communication between the US and the North Korean government about Park or any efforts to capture him.

“The North Korean government, through a state-sponsored group, robbed a central bank and citizens of other nations, retaliated against free speech in order to chill it half a world away, and created disruptive malware that indiscriminately affected victims in more than 150 other countries, causing hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars’ worth of damage,” said John C. Demers, the head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, in a statement, reports the New York Times. “These charges will send a message that we will track down malicious actors no matter how or where they hide,” he added.

While Trump has clearly made efforts to spark communication, it is becoming increasingly clear that these attempts are not working and new approaches with new goals must be set. Evidence indicates that Trump’s talks with Kim Jong Un have not prevented his nuclear activities as intended, and the country has also demonstrated itself as a cyber threat given the Sony hack, among other incidents.

It has been suggested that a cyber accord with North Korea could work as a possible solution, reports CNN. This might be a necessary approach given that North Korean coders have ranked among the best in the world in international competitions, enabling the regime to expanded beyond cyberattacks into the sale of facial recognition software, virtual private networks and encryption software, generating revenue for the hermit nation.

It is clear that the US faces multiple threats when considering the actions of North Korea, however, given Trump’s apparent lack of success, and failed attempts of his predecessors to bring about change to the country’s malicious actions, it will take a master negotiator and diplomat to strict a deal which could see Kim Jung Un fall into line, an event which is unlikely to happen under this administration.

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