US blames North Korea for cyber-attack

Dec 19, 2017 | Blog

White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert, said that United States believes North Korea was behind the “WannaCry” cyber-attack earlier this year. This is the first time that the accusation of another country for the cyber-attack was made officially. The US has evidence to support this, while UK and Microsoft came to similar conclusions in their analyses of the attack. The “WannaCry” attack was one of the most devastating acts of cyber-terrorism in recent times. In May, Windows computers that were hit by this cyber-attack had their contents locked, with users asked to pay a ransom in order to have their data restored. This fast-spreading malware locked down several computers in the UK’s NHS hospitals and displayed a message prompting users to pay $300 in Bitcoin to decrypt the files and restore them to working order. Computers in the attacked hospitals have been simultaneously struck, locking clinicians out until a ransom had been paid. During the attack several trusts and hospitals have been forced to cancel non-essential surgeries, and asked the patients to not attend A&E (accident and emergency) unless it’s absolutely essential. The attack hit more than 300 000 computers in 150 nations, causing a massive damage and an estimated loss of about $4 billion.

The U.S. government is confident enough to think that a hacking group known as “Lazarus Group” is behind this attack, as they work on behalf of the North Korean government. Lazarus Group is believed to be responsible for the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment that destroyed files, and leaked corporate communications online that led to removal of several top studio executives. The idea of North Korea being behind this is worrisome, considering that they might have a high level hacking capabilities on top of their already known nuclear weapons program. However representatives of North Korean government were unable to be reached for a comment, even though the country has already denied responsibility for “WannaCry” attack.

Tom Bossert also explained that the US will take serious precautions against hackers and work towards strengthening the security of government systems and networks at home. The White House was expected to follow up later this week with a more formal statement.