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United States says North Korea 'directly responsible' for 'WannaCry' ransomware attack

21 December 2017, 01:09 | Marta Robbins

United States says North Korea 'directly responsible' for 'WannaCry' ransomware attack

Audio of the AFP discussing the media operations ahead of the North Korean arrest

Bossert wrote in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal published Tuesday that "after careful investigation, the US today publicly attributes the massive "WannaCry" cyberattack to North Korea".

Lazarus Group have in the past been accused of being responsible for the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment that destroyed files, leaked corporate communications and led to the departure of top studio executives. He called the consequences and repercussions of the ransomware "beyond economic".

The U.S. government is publicly acknowledging that North Korea was behind the WannaCry computer worm that affected more than 230,000 computers in more than 150 countries earlier this year.

NPR's Elise Hu tells Morning Edition that "cyberattacks are a way for North Korea to punch above its weight" and that Pyonyang's hackers "have access to global networks and the internet, and they have some real successes to count".

President Donald Trump "has already pulled many levers of pressure to address North Korea's unacceptable nuclear and missile developments, and we will continue to use our maximum pressure strategy to curb Pyongyang's ability to mount attacks, cyber or otherwise".

The Washington Post cited a U.S. official as saying Trump's administration would be urging allies to counter North Korea's cyberattack capabilities and implement all "relevant" UN Security Council sanctions.

FILE PHOTO: A screenshot shows a WannaCry ransomware demand, provided by cyber security firm Symantec, in Mountain View, California, U.S. May 15, 2017.

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Other governments and private companies including the United Kingdom and Microsoft agree with the US's conclusion, he said.

Days after the assault, security researchers began to suspect North Korea was behind the attack.

"Security experts, however, traced the exploitation of that weakness back to the U.S. National Security Agency; it was part of a cache of stolen NSA cyberweapons publicly".

Microsoft president Brad Smith likened the theft to "the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen", and argued that intelligence agencies should disclose such vulnerabilities rather than hoarding them.

The latest reports, however, suggest the USA is going to formally accuse North Korea of the attacks soon.

Smith said WannaCry provided "yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem".



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