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Saturday, March 6, 2021

DOJ Charges North Korean Hackers Behind Cryptocurrency Heist

The US Justice Department (DOJ)  has charged three North Korean hacker spies accused of conspiring to steal and extort more than $1.3 billion in cash and cryptocurrency from international banks and businesses.

The indictment was filed on December 8, 2020, in the United States District Court in Los Angeles against Jon Chang Hy 31, Kim Il 27, and Park Jin Hyok 36 who are allegedly members of units of the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB).

“North Korea’s operatives, using keyboards rather than guns, stealing digital wallets of cryptocurrency instead of sacks of cash, have become the world’s leading bank robbers,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers.

The DOJ said a Ghaleb Alaumary, 37, a Canadian-American citizen was also found guilty of laundering money for the suspects. 

The case against them was built upon various cases attributed to their group which was also known as Lazarus or APT 38.

According to the charges, the hackers were part of the 2014 Sony hack, SWIFT banking fraud, ATM Cash-Out Thefts, Ransomware extortion, Malicious CryptoCurrency Application Development, Spear-Phishing Campaigns, and  Marine Chain Token and Initial Coin Offerings.

“By arresting facilitators, seizing funds, and charging those responsible for the hacking conspiracy, the FBI continues to impose risks and consequences on North Korea and hold them accountable for their criminal cyber activity,” said FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate.

The suspects are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse, which could land them 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.

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