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

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

During a press briefing on Tuesday, Bossert said that even though ransomware is generally created to extract money from victims, the fact that WannaCry malware didn't actually unlock after victims paid the ransom means it wasn't really about making money.

While Bossert condemned North Korea for the attack, the adviser said that there is little the USA can do to punish the secretive nation's government, emphasizing that the U.S.is not viewing an attack on private computers as an act of war. "It is based on evidence".

"As we make the internet safer, we will continue to hold accountable those who harm or threaten us, whether they act alone or on behalf of criminal organizations or hostile nations".

The briefing is expected to start at 9:00 a.m. EST. He said that while the exact identities of the Lazarus Group hackers are the subject of ongoing debate, the overwhelming opinion in the information security community at the moment is that they are "a majority North Korean group - special forces and operatives", and are largely based in northern China.

In the piece titled "It's Official: North Korea is Behind WannaCry", Bossert characterized the attack as "cowardly, costly and careless".

Meanwhile, Microsoft president Brad Smith, in an interview with ITV News at Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, said Pyongyang was behind the ransomware attack. Other governments and private companies agree.

It was not immediately clear if any action was being taken by United States authorities against North Korea following the findings.

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Bossert did not outline the USA government's specific plans to deal with cyberattacks, but officials in Washington said he was expected to do so later on Tuesday. The program demanded a ransom to unlock access to files stored on infected machines.

"The administration has used just about every lever you can use short of starving the North Korean people to death to change their behavior", he said.

Given its isolation and global sanctions, North Korea is desperate for funds. Microsoft has since gone on to expand on this, detailing the steps taken to prevent further cyber attacks from North Korea.

Some of those customers were then targeted with so-called spearphishing emails - infected emails created to look as if they were from South Korea's taxation agency, the Korean National Tax Service, he said.

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

Cristiana Brafman Kittner, principal analyst at the cybersecurity firm FireEye, said she could not confirm whether North Korea had actually stolen any virtual currencies, but said hackers linked to it had targeted "multiple exchanges" over the past six to nine months.

North Korea was "directly responsible" for a cyberattack earlier this year that affected more that 300,000 computers across the world, according to an aide to U.S. President Donald Trump.


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