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Mr Park is said by U.S. intelligence officials to work for North Korea's Reconnaissance General Bureau....

This undated photo released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows Park Jin Hyok, a computer programmer accused of working at the behest of the North Korean government, was charged Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in connection with several high-profile cyberattacks.

On top of the money stolen, the damage caused by the hacking attacks and malware may have cost billions of dollars, according to U.S. officials.

The charges and sanctions came amid President Donald Trump's efforts to negotiate with Kim Jong Un's regime to give up its nuclear arsenal. Prosecutors said the firm had offices in China and North Korea and was affiliated with "Lab 110", an arm of North Korean military intelligence.

The 172-page criminal complaint published by the US Department of Justice provides an unprecedented insight into the workings of one of the most notorious hacking groups on the planet, but also shows how their most successful attacks were at least in part down to a blizzard of fake - phishing - emails.

The attack did not target the NHS specifically: about 300,000 computers at businesses and organisations in more than 100 countries were affected.

The North Korean government was not notified about the charges, which are likely to be a source of irritation.

Park is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse, which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, with a max sentence of 20 years in prison.

Another high-profile cyberattack the United States believed to be carried out by North Korea was the illicit transfer of $81m from a Bangladeshi bank in 2016.

A North Korea-registered website bearing that company's name described Chosun Expo as the country's "first internet company", saying it was established in 2002 and employed 20 young graduates from institutions including Kim Il Sung University, Kimcheon Industrial University and Pyongyang Art University.

"These were attacks against freedom of speech", Wilkison said at a downtown Los Angeles news conference. ".These charges send a message that we will track down malicious actors no matter how or where they hide".

President Trump's administration blamed the rogue regime late previous year for the WannaCry ransomware attack that infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide in May 2017 and crippled parts of Britain's National Health Service. The depiction caused officials to complain to the United Nations and resulted in the state media of the isolated nation warning of "merciless retaliation".

Investigators were able to track down the hackers by tracing their origin to a segment of some 1,024 internet protocol addresses assigned to North Korea.

Regarding the WannaCry ransomeware attack that disrupted computer networks around the world, the complaint states that forensic analysis linked that attack to hackers who carried out the Sony and Bangladesh Bank attacks and the targeting of USA defense contractors.


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