US Treasury sanctions North Korea over Sony hack and WannaCry attack

The U.S. government has issued sanctions against a North Korean individual and an entity over historical cyberattacks, which wreaked billions of dollars in damages.

In a statement, the U.S. Treasury named North Korean programmer Park Jin Jyok for working on behalf of Pyongyang in carrying out several cyberattacks against U.S. and global targets. The statement said Park was responsible for a hack on Sony Pictures in 2016, which U.S. authorities had long blamed on North Korea, citing little evidence. It was believed, though never confirmed, that the attack was in retaliation for Sony’s production of “The Interview,” a movie in which North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was assassinated.

Park was also accused of carrying out the WannaCry ransomware outbreak in 2017, also blamed on North Korea, which encrypted the contents of tens of thousands of computers for ransom. The attack used stolen exploits developed by the National Security Agency to attack computers across the world, knocking offline hospitals and other businesses.

The government also said Park was sanctioned for his part in the transfer of $81 million from Bangladesh Bank in 2016.

Park is said to work for a venture operated by the North Korean government, which the Treasury is also sanctioning.

“North Korea has demonstrated a pattern of disruptive and harmful cyber activity that is inconsistent with the growing consensus on what constitutes responsible state behavior in cyberspace,” the Treasury statement read. “Our policy is to hold North Korea accountable and demonstrate to the regime that there is a cost to its provocative and irresponsible actions.”

In remarks, CrowdStrike called the North Korean attackers “some of the most active and disruptive threat groups today.”

The Justice Department was expected to indict a then-unnamed North Korean government operative, according to a report by ABC News on Thursday.