Sunday, 21 January, 2018

WannaCry cyberattack: USA says it has evidence North Korea was 'directly responsible'

WannaCry cyberattack: US says it has evidence North Korea was 'directly responsible' Trump Administration Blames NKorea for Big Ransomware Attack
Erik Tate | 21 December, 2017, 01:04

The deadly WannaCry cyber attacks which crippled several governments and corporate companies spanning over 150 countries, was carried out by North Korea, US President's homeland security advisor, Thomas P Bossert, has confirmed.

"The attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea was directly responsible", said Tom Bossert, homeland security advisor to U.S. president Donald Trump in an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal.

A spokesman for South Korea's Unification Ministry, which handles North Korean affairs, said on Monday the government was considering "countermeasures", including more sanctions, over the cyber attacks.

But Mr Napolitano warned the WannaCry malware attack could not justify full-out military action against North Korea as it did not constitute an "invasion" of U.S. territory. He has ordered the modernization of government information-technology to enhance the security of the systems we run on behalf of the American people.

American tech giants Microsoft and Facebook acted recently on their own to disrupt the activities of North Korean hackers and prevent the operational execution of ongoing cyber attacks in the United States, the White House said today. We are not alone with our findings, either. "Stopping malicious behavior like this starts with accountability", Bossert said.

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North Korea is amassing an ever-growing pile of bitcoin, likely to fund future cyberattacks, a cybersecurity CEO said. "Facebook took down accounts that stopped the operational execution of ongoing cyber attacks", he said, and "Microsoft acted to patch existing attacks". "WannaCry was indiscriminately reckless", he wrote in the op-ed. Bossert added, "Next time we're not going to get so lucky". The Trump administration has said that Pyongyang was "directly responsible" for the WannaCry malware attack.

But following accusations from Theresa May's security minister Ben Wallace, North Korea hit back saying the statement was "despicable" and "an act beyond the limit of our tolerance".

"We hope that they decide to stop behaving badly online", Bossert told reporters.

The attack was eventually stopped by a British hacker who discovered a "kill switch" in the code that disabled the virus. But as far as direct measures against North Korea go, the US' options are very limited.

Bossert and Jeanette Manfra, assistant secretary of homeland security for cybersecurity and communication, said the United States, through a combination of preparation and luck, escaped the worst of the attack, as a patch to the malware was found before US companies and other interests were severely crippled. "The money was an ancillary side benefit, and I don't think they got a lot of it", Bossert said.

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