Trump administration blames North Korea for 'WannaCry' ransomware

19 December, 2017, 11:13 | Author: Shannon Newton
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   ALLIES China and Russia have finished a week of anti-missile drills in Beijing

Homeland security adviser Tom Bossert wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that North Korea was "directly responsible" for May's ransomware attack and that Pyongyang would be held accountable. Other governments and private companies agree.

The malware spread to thousands of computers in over 150 countries, encrypting data and demanding BitCoin payments as ransom.

"The attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea was directly responsible", said Tom Bossert, homeland security advisor to U.S. president Donald Trump in an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal.

It is the first time the United States has blamed the country officially for the worm.

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The accusation that the North Korean government was behind the so-called WannaCry attack comes as worries mount about North Korea's hacking capabilities and its nuclear weapons program.

"The attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea is directly responsible", he wrote.

Bossert also says hackers must continue to receive harsh punishments for cybercrimes and corporations likely to be victims of such attacks should step up security and proactively take measures to fight back against malicious bad actors and foreign governments. "North Korea has acted especially badly, largely unchecked, for more than a decade, and its malicious behavior is growing more egregious".

Kaspersky CEO Eugene Kaspersky has denied being part of any nefarious plot with the Russian government to spy on Western countries, and stated in November: "If the Russian government comes to me and asks me to anything wrong, or my employees, I will move the business out of Russia".

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The op-ed called on world governments and businesses to cooperate with the USA to fight cyber threats. Citing foreign media reports, including Newsweek's coverage of a poll that found almost two-thirds of USA citizens were against going to war with North Korea, the state-run outlet called on Trump and his administration to rescind their threat to forcefully disarm supreme leader Kim Jong Un's nuclear and ballistic arsenal, which has continued to grow despite increased US -led diplomatic, economic and military pressure.

"The US is trying to shift responsibility for tensions on the Korean Peninsula to us with its dialogue offensive", the North Korean daily Rodong Sinmun said in a report.

"It is increasingly using cyberattacks to fund its reckless behavior and cause disruption across the world", Bossert said.

Some researchers have said they believed WannaCry was deployed accidentally by North Korea as hackers were developing the code.

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The event was held at Camp Stanley, a US military facility located some 20 km from Seoul, South Korea, according to a statement by the US Army.

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