DOJ Charges 3 North Korean Hackers With Stealing $100M+ From Crypto Firms

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged three North Korean computer programmers with theft and extortion on various allegations, including stealing over $100 million in cryptocurrencies between 2017 and 2020.

The thefts are part of a broader conspiracy that saw the alleged hackers steal over $1.3 billion, the DOJ announced Wednesday. In a second case, a Canadian-American was charged with participating in a money laundering scheme.

Jon Chang Hyok, Kim Il and Park Jin Hyok have been charged with criminal hacking and other crimes, and are allegedly a part of the Lazarus Group, according to a press release. The three were allegedly behind the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which was seen as a retaliatory move for producing The Interview, a comedy film about the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“The indictment describes a broad array of criminal cyber activities undertaken by the conspiracy, in the United States and abroad, conducted for revenge or financial gain. The schemes alleged include: … Targeting of hundreds of cryptocurrency companies and the theft of tens of millions of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency, including $75 million from a Slovenian cryptocurrency company in December 2017; $24.9 million from an Indonesian cryptocurrency company in September 2018; and $11.8 million from a financial services company in New York in August 2020 in which the hackers used the malicious CryptoNeuro Trader application as a backdoor,” the press release said.