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North Korean programmer accused over cyber attack on NHS

Park Jin Hyok was accused by the US of working at the behest of the North Korean state.

A computer programmer has been charged in the US with working for the North Korean state in a series of notorious cyber attacks, including the WannaCry ransomware that crippled the NHS.

The FBI also accused Park Jin Hyok in connection with a hack on Sony Pictures and the targeting of a British firm making a series about the nation headed by Kim Jong-un.

Park is believed to be somewhere in North Korea, but it emerged on Thursday he has been charged with conspiracy in a Californian court over the attack on the NHS in may last year which spread to 150 countries.

The FBI said Park, allegedly working for a front company for the North Korean state, also conspired to steal 81 million dollars (£63 million) from a Bangladeshi bank.

Chaos broke out across the NHS with dozens of trusts infected with the WannaCry malware that demanded a ransom to resume computer access.

Some 6,912 appointments were cancelled and 1,220 “pieces of diagnostic equipment” were also infected.

The FBI’s criminal complaint also said British production company Mammoth Screen had been suffered an electronic intrusion in 2014.

It came after it approved a series called Opposite Number, which was to involved a British nuclear scientist taken prisoner in North Korea.

The targeting of an entertainment firm behind content that might be embarrassing for Mr Kim’s state was also seen with the 2014 Sony Pictures hack.

A haul of sensitive information on Sony employees was released in what the US believed was pay-back for The Interview, a Seth Rogen satire about a plot to assassinate Mr Kim.

The WannaCry attack was halted by 24-year-old Marcus Hutchins, from Ilfracombe, Devon.

He is currently facing trial in the US accused by the FBI of creating a different malware previously, which he denies.

Steve Rodhouse, an NCA director general, celebrated a collaboration between UK and US investigators.

“These charges show that we will not tire in our efforts to identify those who believe they can hide behind a computer and cause havoc across the world, regardless of their motivation or status,” he said.

“The Wannacry attack highlighted that cyber crime affects not just the country’s prosperity and security, but also affects our everyday way of life.”

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