- The Washington Times - Friday, September 14, 2018

North Korea on Friday denied the existence of Park Jin Hyok, the accused hacker charged by the Trump administration last week with participating in suspected state-sponsored cyberattacks suffered by victims including Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Mr. Park “is a non-existent entity,” said Han Yong Song, an official at the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “And furthermore, the act of cyber crimes mentioned by the Justice Department has nothing to do with us,” he said in a statement, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

“The U.S. should seriously ponder over the negative consequences of circulating falsehoods and inciting antagonism against the DPRK,” he added, referring to the nation’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“The U.S. is totally mistaken if it seeks to gain anything from us through preposterous falsehoods and high-handedness,” his statement said.

The Justice Department last week charged Mr. Park in absentia with two counts of conspiracy to commit computer and wire fraud in connection with malicious cyber activity allegedly conducted against international victims on behalf of the North Korean government, including the Sony hack in 2014 and the internationally debilitating WannaCry virus unleashed in 2017, among others.

The U.S. accused the North Korea government in the past of conducting the Sony breach and other intrusions, but the charges against Mr. Park marked the first time federal prosecutors accused Pyongyang in court of conducting state-sponsored cyberattacks against American victims.

Mr. Park worked with a team of fellow computer programers responsible for engaging in a malicious activity conducted by the “Lazarus Group,” a name given by private sector security researchers to a suspected North Korean state-sponsored hacking outfit tied to the Sony breach and WannaCry, among others, according to the Justice Department.

“The U.S. farce of prosecution is none other than a vicious slander and another smear campaign full of falsehood and fabrication designed to undermine the DPRK,” the Foreign Affairs official reacted Friday, regional media reported.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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