US Blames North Korea for WannaCry Ransomware Attack

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   MILITARY DRILL US troops took part in training to destroy North Korea's nuclear weapons

In May, a ransomware attack known as WannaCry infected computers across the world, encrypting people's files and charging owners hundreds of dollars to recover access to those files.

"The attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea was directly responsible", said Tom Bossert, homeland security advisor to United States president Donald Trump in an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal. The official said they had a "very high level of confidence" that hacking outfit Lazarus Group carried out the attack on behalf of the North Korean government.

Pointing to threats outside of North Korea, Bossert said preventing similarly massive cyber incidents would take concentrated effort and that President Donald Trump had taken steps in the right direction, such as ordering the modernization of government information technology to enhance the security of USA computer systems and the sharing of software vulnerabilities with developers.

The US is not the only country that attributes the WannaCry attack to North Korea, Bossert adds.

Bossert wrote that North Korea's "malicious behavior" has gone on for years and is growing more egregious. "WannaCry was indiscriminately reckless", Bossert wrote.

Bossert said the Trump administration will continue to use its "maximum pressure strategy to curb Pyongyang's ability to mount attacks, cyber or otherwise".

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.

"Security experts, however, traced the exploitation of that weakness back to the U.S. National Security Agency; it was part of a cache of stolen NSA cyberweapons publicly".

"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.

The United States in 2014 formally accused North Korea of hacking Sony Pictures Entertainment over the movie "The Interview", a satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader. He also noted that Microsoft did make efforts to disrupt activities by North Korean hackers last week, but Bossert didn't elaborate. It said the Central Intelligence Agency had already laid blame on North Korea for the attack in November, though the assessment was classified and had not yet been previously reported.

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