North Korea 'directly responsible' for cyberattack in May, White House official says

19 December, 2017, 11:22 | Author: Ellis Copeland
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A senior administration official told the Reuters news agency that the White House would issue a formal statement of blame on Tuesday.

"The attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea is directly responsible", Bossert wrote.

Bossert called the attack in which victims received ransom demands to unlock their computers "cowardly, costly and careless".

Many security researchers, including the cyber firm Symantec, as well as the British government, have already concluded that North Korea was likely behind the WannaCry attack, which quickly unfurled across the globe in May to infect more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries.

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Other governments and private companies including the United Kingdom and Microsoft agree with the US's conclusion, he said. Earlier this month, North Korea said it had successfully tested a breakthrough intercontinental ballistic missile that could place the entire USA mainland within range of its nuclear weapons. He implored private companies to build up their defenses against North Korea and other "bad actors" in cyberspace, and singled out Microsoft in particular for taking actions last week to "disrupt activities of North Korean hackers", without elaborating on the details. "A company that could bring data back to Russian Federation represents an unacceptable risk on federal networks". "If those hackers travel, we will arrest them and bring them to justice". A few weeks ago, we charged three Chinese nationals for hacking, theft of trade secrets and identity theft. Whenever possible, we will work with partners, industry and allied governments, who share our market based values.

Lazarus Group is widely believed by security researchers and US officials to have been responsible for the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which destroyed files, leaked corporate communications online and led to the departure of several top studio executives.

Ahead of the claims about North Korea being responsible for the WannaCry attack, on Monday, the U.S. military released photos of massive joint drills it underwent recently with its ally South Korea, and have called the exercise 'Warrior Strike IX'.

He said that the administration would continue to use its "maximum pressure strategy to curb Pyongyang's ability to mount attacks, cyber or otherwise".

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