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Friday, September 14, 2018, 14:34
DPRK calls Sony, WannaCry hack charges 'smear campaign'
By Associated Press
Friday, September 14, 2018, 14:34 By Associated Press

PYONGYANG — The Democratic People's Republic of Korea strongly denied claims by the United States that a computer programmer working for the DPRK government was involved in the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment and the spread of the WannaCry ransomware virus.

In a statement Friday, a DPRK Foreign Ministry official said that the person named by US is a "non-entity," and warned that the allegations, which he called a smear campaign, could harm talks between the two countries following the summit between President Donald Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong-un.

US federal prosecutors allege the programmer, identified as Park Jin-hyok, conspired to conduct a series of attacks that also stole US$81 million from a bank in Bangladesh.

The US believes he was working for a DPRK-sponsored hacking organization.

ALSO READ: US blames DPRK for 'WannaCry' cyberattack

In a statement carried by the KCNA, DPRK flatly denied it had anything to do with the 2104 Sony incident and WannaCry virus, calling the US charges a "vicious slander and another smear campaign"

"The act of cybercrimes mentioned by the Justice Department has nothing to do with us," Han Yong-song, a researcher at the DPRK Foreign Ministry's Institute for American Studies, said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency.

"The US should seriously ponder over the negative consequences of circulating falsehoods and inciting antagonism against the DPRK that may affect the implementation of the joint statement adopted at the DPRK-US summit," he said.

In the statement, DPRK flatly denied it had anything to do with the 2104 Sony incident and WannaCry virus, calling the US charges a "vicious slander and another smear campaign."

"The US is totally mistaken if it seeks to gain anything from us through preposterous falsehoods and high-handedness," the statement read.

READ MORE: DPRK's UN envoy demands US prove ransomware claim

The US government has previously said DPRK was responsible for the Sony hack, which led to the release of sensitive personal information about employees, including Social Security numbers, financial records, salary information, as well as embarrassing emails among top executives.

The FBI has also long suspected DPRK was behind WannaCry, which used malware to scramble data on hundreds of thousands of computers at hospitals, factories, government agencies, banks and other businesses across the globe.

Park is charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit computer and wire fraud.

The Treasury Department has added his name to their sanction list, prohibiting banks that do business in the US from providing accounts to him or Chosun Expo.

It is the first time the Justice Department has brought criminal charges against a hacker said to be from DPRK.

ALSO READ: WannaCry hackings expose weaknesses

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