Justice Department to Charge North Koreans for Sony Hack

Hack around the release of “The Interview” revealed internal emails and financial information

Last Updated: September 6, 2018 @ 7:52 AM

The Justice Department is set to charge North Korean nationals for the 2014 Sony Hack, according to the Washington Post and ABC News.

Specifically, the Post reported, the department is charging Pak Jin Hyok, who conducted the hacking on behalf of North Korean military intelligence agency Reconnaissance General Bureau. This is the first time the U.S. is making charges against a Pyongyang operative.

Hyok is linked to the Lazarus Group, which has been connected in an attempt to steal $1 billion from the Bangladesh Bank in 2016. According to the New York Times, the U.S. government had explored charging Hyok, but it took some time because information against him was classified. The U.S. government has previously said that North Korea was responsible for the 2014 attack.

According to CBS, officials are expected to make the formal charges announcement in Los Angeles at 1 p.m. ET. The Post reported that the Treasury Department on Thursday is also expected to announce sanctions on North Korean individuals who are connected to the hack.

Hours before the announcement, however, President Donald Trump thanked Kim Jong Un for the North Korean leader’s “unwavering faith” in him.

In November 2014, a hacker group which identified itself as “Guardians of Peace” leaked confidential data from Sony Pictures, including personal data about employees, financial information, and copies of then-unreleased Sony films. The group demanded that Sony not release James Franco and Seth Rogen’s “The Interview,” which was a comedy about a plot where North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was assassinated. Major theater chains opted out, and Sony canceled the film’s premiered and wide release, going for a limited digital theatrical release instead. North Korea had denied all responsibility.