North Korea 'directly responsible' for global WannaCry attack that hit NHS

North Korea 'directly responsible' for global WannaCry attack that hit NHS

North Korea 'directly responsible' for global WannaCry attack that hit NHS

The regime was "directly responsible" for the WannaCry attack that crippled hospitals, banks and other infrastructure in May, a senior White House official said.

North Korea was widely suspected of being behind the computer virus and ransomware, which demanded payment to restore access.

North Korea "will not budge" away from developing nuclear weapons as Pyongyang's state-run media criticized the United States for an insincere offer of dialogue Tuesday.

Thomas Bossert, a Homeland Security adviser to President Donald Trump, laid out the Administration's case against North Korea in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

The US has evidence for the claim, and the United Kingdom and Microsoft reached similar conclusions in their analyses of the attack, which plagued computers the world over in May, he wrote. Among the infected computers were those at Britain's National Health Service (NHS), Spanish telecoms company Telefonica and USA logistics company FedEx. "These disruptions put lives at risk".

"North Korea has acted especially badly, largely unchecked, for more than a decade, and its malicious behavior is growing more egregious", Bessert later added.

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The vulnerability was first discovered by the National Security Agency (NSA), which wrote WannaCrypt, the ransomware used in the attack.

"Other governments and private companies agree", he wrote. "When we must, the U.S. will act alone to impose costs and consequences for cyber malfeasance", Bossert added.

In October, Home Office minister Ben Wallace said the UK Government believed "quite strongly" that a foreign state was behind the cyber attack and named North Korea.

The WannaCry attack spread rapidly around the globe using a security flaw in Microsoft's Windows XP operating system, an older version that is no longer given mainstream tech support by the USA giant.

All infected machines were running computer systems - the majority Windows 7 - that had not been updated to secure them against such attacks.

News reports quoted a senior Trump administration official as saying that the USA had come to the conclusion, "with a very high level of confidence" that the Lazarus Group, a hacking organisation that works on behalf of Pyongyang, was behind the WannaCry attack. North Korea has reportedly denied any involvement with WannaCry.

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