Wednesday, 26 July, 2017

Researchers identify similarities between global cyber attack and North Korean hacks

WannaCry ransomware could have North Korean links Research WannaCry ransomware could have North Korean links Research
Devin Neal | 17 May, 2017, 01:54

The company said it had released a security update back in March to protect Windows system computers against such attacks, but said many computers "remained unpatched globally".

The WannaCry malware has scrambled data at hospitals, factories, government agencies, banks and other businesses since Friday, but an expected second wave largely failed to materialise after the weekend, in part because security researchers had already tackled it.

Cyber security experts have found technical evidence they said could link North Korea with the global WannaCry ransomware attack that has infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries since it surfaced on Friday.

According to Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, Mehta's post referred to a similarity between "a WannaCry cryptor sample from February 2017" and "a Lazarus APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) group sample from February 2015".

However some researchers are not entirely certain if money was the primary motive of the WannaCry attack, noting that large cyber extortion campaigns usually receive millions of dollars of revenue.

"For now, more research is required into older versions of Wannacry", security firm Kaspersky wrote in a blog. WCry's creators may have deliberately added code found in Cantopee in an attempt to trick researchers into mistakenly believing Lazarus Group is behind the ransomware.

"Looking at that, there seems to be some commonality". However, they point out that this could be a false flag operation, meant to divert suspicion from the real perpetrators.

"But we think actually that this is probably not the case - we think it is a legitimate connection between the two".

While some of North Korea's hacking activities appear to be motivated by its cash shortage or personal retribution, the regime also conducts more traditional attacks on its southern neighbor. Thakur said Symantec is investigating how prevalent this shared code is. "We've seen them steal information".

Guardiola: Barca Or Bayern Would've Sacked Me By Now
Yet that kind of form at previous clubs would have seen the axe wielded, Guardiola said. He said: "Yes because I have to win".

"On ransomware, since March, the government of India has been on high alert".

"But if you're looking at agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, clearly they have access to intelligence that we don't". It's the strongest theory yet as to the origin of WannaCry, but there are also details that arguably point away from it being the work of North Korea.

Experts say it's too early to blame last week's attack on North Korean hackers, however, citing the possibility that other cybercriminals could have used the Lazarus malware and even included the identical portion of code as a false flag to implicate the isolated regime.

Who was behind the huge global cyber-attack?

Kaspersky Labs said "the scale of the Lazarus operations is shocking".

In a letter to The Times, Sir David said: "Should Microsoft have stopped supporting Windows XP so soon, knowing that institutions had invested heavily in it (at the urging of the company at the time)?"

The kingdom's electronic security agency says about 18 percent of Saudi Telecom's computers were affected by the cyberattack.

Microsoft's president compared the scenario to the United States military having some of its tomahawk missiles stolen. As of 5 p.m., the agency received 4,616 phone calls from people wondering if their computers had been attacked by the malware, which in other countries has been demanding ransoms paid in Bitcoin. "This was a tool developed by culpable parties, potentially criminals or foreign nation-states, that were put together in such a way as to deliver phishing emails, put it into embedded documents, and cause infection, encryption and locking", Bossert said.

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