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U.S. holds N. Korea responsible for WannaCry malware attack

U.S. holds N. Korea responsible for WannaCry malware attack

Posted December. 21, 2017 09:21,   

Updated December. 21, 2017 09:38


The U.S. White House on Monday blamed North Korea for the WannaCry cyberattack in May that put the global computer networks into chaos. It was the U.S. government’s first public acknowledgement of the continued suspicion about North Korea’s responsibility for the malware attack. The announcement came just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump released the new National Security Strategy, suggesting that the Trump administration’s determination to deal sternly with the North’s cyberattacks.

“After careful investigation, the United States is publicly attributing the massive WannaCry cyberattack to North Korea,” White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert told a news briefing on Tuesday. Although he did not present any concrete evidence, he made it clear that the Trump administration did not make this allegation lightly. “This was a careless and reckless attack… North Korea has demonstrated that they want to hold the entire world at risk, whether it be through a nuclear missile program or through wanton cyberattacks,” he said.

WannaCry is a type of ransomware that takes advantage of a flaw in Microsoft’s Windows operating system. The malware affected more than 230,000 personal computers in some 150 countries in a short period of time, causing billions of dollars in damage.

Bossert also pointed out that North Korea’s cyberattacks are still continuing. “Last week, Microsoft and Facebook and other major tech companies acted to disable a number of North Korean cyber exploits and disrupt their operations as the North Koreans were still infecting computers across the globe. They shut down accounts the North Korean regime hackers used to launch attacks and patched systems,” he said.

The White House said it would not tolerate the North’s cyberattacks. “And I think, at this point, the cyber issue has come on the heels of his other decisive actions,” the homeland security adviser said. “So it leaves us with little room left to apply additional pressure, but we will continue to apply that pressure campaign without any wavering.” He added that other countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Japan, agreed.

The affected countries also joined the United States in denouncing North Korea for WannaCry. U.K. Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad condemned the cyberattack, saying, “The indiscriminate use of the WannaCry ransomware demonstrates North Korean actors using their cyber program to circumvent sanctions.” At the time of the attack, the United Kingdom suffered huge damage, as its National Health Service computer networks were paralyzed. Japan’s foreign ministry also issued a statement on Wednesday to denounce the cyberattack.