WannaCry cyber attack: North Korea was 'directly responsible'

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In an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal, Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bessert wrote that North Korea was "directly responsible" for the malware that "cost billions".

North Korea on Tuesday rejected a recent offer by the USA for talks without preconditions, calling it a ploy to make Pyongyang give up its nuclear programme. It is based on evidence. What evidence they have wasn't presented in the op-ed, but the White House reportedly intends to issue a follow-up statement on Tuesday. We are not alone with our findings, either.

"Other governments and private companies agree", he wrote.

In relation to thwarting alleged malicious behavior online, Bossert credits President Donald Trump for "continu [ing] sanctions on Russian hackers and direct [ing] the most transparent and effective government effort in the world to find and share vulnerabilities in important software". "The tool kits of totalitarian regimes are too threatening to ignore".

According to Bossert, those responsible for the cyber attacks against the USA would be held accountable, but did not mention any specifics regarding the actions Washington was considering taking against the rogue state. He noted that the Trump administration has banned the use of Kaspersky software from government systems over concerns that the software could abet Russian espionage, and that the government has also charged Iranian hackers who attacked U.S. companies such as HBO.

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Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment. What made WannaCry particularly devastating was that it managed to spread itself like a computer worm to over 200,000 machines through the use of stolen NSA cyberweapons.

Within days of the attack in May, North Korea fell under suspicion. An earlier version of the WannaCry ransomware shared coding similarities with past hacks from the Lazarus Group, a shadowy hacking collective many believe work for the North Korean government.

Independent research groups have previously attributed the attack to North Korea.

The Washington Post cited a United States 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.