WASHINGTON ― Justice Department prosecutors have unsealed charges against a North Korean computer programmer in a 2014 hack of Sony Pictures in retaliation for the making of the Seth Rogen comedy “The Interview.”
The charges were first filed under seal ahead of President Donald Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June. The feds said that the programmer, Park Jin Hyok, worked at a company that served as a front for North Korean intelligence. Sony canceled the theatrical release of “The Interview,” directed by Rogen and Evan Goldberg. However, the hack generated significant publicity for the film, and it went on to become Sony’s top online movie.
A U.S. official told reporters that while the complaint names just one individual, who was acting on behalf of the North Korean government, it alleges that a number of other unnamed conspirators were involved in the operation.
In unrelated cases, the U.S. has previously charged hackers from Iran as well as hackers in the Chinese military. More recently, special counsel Robert Mueller has brought charges against Russian hackers for interfering in the 2016 election.
John Demers, who heads the Justice Department’s National Security Division, told reporters on Thursday that it was important to call out hacking activities, as the U.S. had done against China, Iran and Russia.
“These activities run afoul of the acceptable norms of state behavior in cyberspace, and the international community must address them when we can,” Demers said.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Ryan Reilly is HuffPost’s senior justice reporter covering the Justice Department, federal law enforcement, criminal justice and legal affairs. Have a tip? Reach him at email@example.com or on Signal at 202-527-9261.