WASHINGTON – Hackers who are said to be linked to military intelligence in North Korea have sought a Canadian offense for plotting to steal more than $ 1.3 billion from banks, governments and businesses around the world.
Caleb Alamari, of Mississauga, has been charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering in what the U.S. Justice Department calls a “high-level criminal conspiracy” targeting all types of companies, from a Hollywood movie studio to the US State Department.
John Demers, deputy attorney general for the Department of National Security, described North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime as a “criminal association with a flag.”
Mr Demers argued that North Korean agents “used keyboards rather than guns” to become “the world’s leading bank robbers”.
“Mr. Almari’s judiciary has been” detained “for arranging to embezzle millions of dollars stolen by (North Korea) pirates. The 37-year-old has dual Canadian and US citizenship.
“He acknowledged his role in these criminal schemes in a petition agreement and he will be held accountable for his conduct,” he added.
A role in many crimes
Lawyers accuse the closet of using conspiracy theories “in the United States and Canada” to facilitate revenue from “cash withdrawal” systems, including hacking ATMs to allow fraudulent withdrawals.
He is believed to have contributed to bank cyber robberies and “business email compromise” scams in which criminals use phishing emails to prevent legitimate money transfers.
RCMP officials did not immediately respond to Wednesday’s inquiries into Almari’s Canadian co-conspirators.
The Canadian pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and faces up to 20 years in prison. He is also facing charges in Georgia of allegedly engaging in a separate organization of business email compromise.
The indictment, released in Los Angeles on Wednesday, is the latest step in a lengthy and comprehensive investigation into the November 2014 North Korean cyber attacks.
It was at this point that Sony Pictures Entertainment targeted the movie “The Interview”, which was ridiculed by controversial comedians Seth Rogen and James Franco and provoked the regime to label the movie “War Action”.
The original 2018 charge was that the North Korean programmer was accused of stealing $ 81 million from a Bangladeshi bank in 2016 and the WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017.
“The events described in this report gave the first indications that the North Korean regime would focus on stealing money from companies around the world, and could do so,” Demers said.
The same programmer, Park Jin Hyok, 36, was recently indicted on Wednesday, along with two others: John Chang Hyok, 31, and Kim Il, 27.
The department described them as members of the Bureau of Public Reassessment, the military intelligence agency of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. None of these three took place in the United States.
It is said to be a great conspiracy
The plot, which is said to have been unveiled on Wednesday, is breathtaking. It includes:
– Cyber attacks on Sony and AMC theaters in 2014 in retaliation for Kim Jong Un’s fictional assassination attempt on the film “The Interview”;
– A four-year attempted robbery attempt to steal $ 1.2 billion from banks in Vietnam, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Mexico, Malta and Africa;
– Numerous “cash withdrawal” thefts from ATMs – Hacking machines to facilitate fraudulent withdrawals – Worldwide, including one 6.1 million from a Pakistani bank in October 2018;
– U.S. Defense contractors, aerospace and technology companies and U.S. Massive phishing campaigns against the State Department and security agencies in the United States aimed at tricking computer users into clicking on fake email links.
A “criminal national state”
As a rogue nuclear power, North Korea has been the target of international economic and financial sanctions for the past 15 years.
This, in part, explains why North Korea turned to cybercrime, officials say.
“The scope of the crimes they committed is shocking,” said Tracy Wilkison, the U.S. attorney general for California.
“The behaviors described in the indictment are the actions of a criminal nation-state that has nothing to do with revenge and extorting money to support its rule.”