Tuesday, 24 October, 2017

Experts question North Korea role in WannaCry cyber attack

Thief Steals Nearly 700 Parking Meters Thief Steals Nearly 700 Parking Meters
Jeannie Matthews | 20 May, 2017, 02:36

The fast-spreading cyber extortion campaign, which has infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide since Friday, eased for second day on Tuesday, but the identity and motive of its creators remain unknown.

More than 150 countries were hit in the recent cyberattack that took the world by storm.

A blog post written by the group promised from June to release tools every month to anyone willing to pay for access to some of the tech world's biggest commercial secrets. "As the country is nearly entirely not connected to the internet, it is much less exposed to such attacks", wrote the centre's Anthony Cordesman.

There were no new, major incidents in the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security began an "aggressive awareness campaign" to alert the tech industry to the importance of installing the patch that Microsoft issued in March that protected users from the vulnerability exploited by the attack, a USA official working on the attack told Reuters.

Chinese state media instead blamed the United States, and said it was "hypocritical" for the U.S. to accuse China of state-sponsored cyber espionage.

The claim that WannaCry used elements stolen from the NSA was first made by Microsoft President Brad Smith, and the US Government has not responded to the claim. The code used in the latest attack shared many similarities with past hacks blamed on the North, including the targeting of Sony Pictures and the central bank of Bangladesh, said Simon Choi, director of Seoul internet security firm Hauri.

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Some suspect a group known as Lazarus, believed to be a mixture of North Korean hackers operating in tandem with Chinese "cyber mercenaries". "It is similar to North Korea's backdoor malicious codes", said Choi.

Two law enforcement officials say USA investigators suspect North Korea may be behind the global "ransomware" attack.

How is the group linked to North Korea?

The officials spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation.

He cited a major attack a year ago that stole the data of over 10 million users of Interpark, a Seoul-based online shopping site, in which hackers demanded bitcoin payments worth about Dollars 3 million.

But the paper did not comment whether the North had suffered the attack.

There is another possibility that "Lazarus Group" may be working independently and without the instructions from North Korea, the report added.

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