REPORT: North Korea identified as culprit behind massive cyberattack

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North Korea was behind the massive “WannaCry” cyberattack that spread around the world, costing billions of dollars in May, according to an announcement from White House Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Monday.

“It’s Official: North Korea Is Behind WannaCry,” was the headline of Bossert’s piece which identified North Korea as the main culprit behind the May 2017 global cyberattack. Computers running Windows were targeted during the infamous attack, during which data was encrypted and ransom payment, in the form of Bitcoin, was demanded of users if they wanted their data returned.

“Cybersecurity isn’t easy, but simple principles still apply. Accountability is one, cooperation another,” Bossert wrote, adding, “They are the cornerstones of security and resilience in any society. In furtherance of both, and after careful investigation, the U.S. today publicly attributes the massive ‘WannaCry’ cyber attack to North Korea.”

The attack disabled hundreds of thousands of computers in hospitals, schools, businesses, and homes throughout the world.

Paying ransom demands did not unlock anyone’s computers, the homeland security adviser said, calling the act “cowardly, costly and careless. The attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea is directly responsible.”

The allegations against the hermit kingdom are based on credible evidence, said Bossert, noting that the United Kingdom attributes the attack to North Korea and that Microsoft traced the attack to cyber affiliates of the regime.

“North Korea has acted especially badly, largely unchecked, for more than a decade, and its malicious behavior is growing more egregious. WannaCry was indiscriminately reckless,” Bossert asserted. “Stopping malicious behavior like this starts with accountability. It also requires governments and businesses to cooperate to mitigate cyber risk and increase the cost to hackers.”

He added, “The U.S. must lead this effort, rallying allies and responsible tech companies throughout the free world to increase the security and resilience of the internet.”

Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, released a statement Monday evening regarding the revelation.

“I commend the men and women of our Intelligence Community for their strong work in following the evidence and putting forth their assessment of these events, and I urge our international partners to fulfill their responsibilities under the sanctions regimes that are now in place,” he said in the statement. “I look forward to hearing additional details in classified session in the coming days.”

Cummings also commented on how the news was released to the public.

“President Trump is handling the intelligence assessments regarding North Korea and Russia completely differently, staging an elaborate media roll-out to press on sanctions against North Korea while at the same time discrediting the assessment by these very same intelligence agencies that the Kremlin interfered with our election. Why isn’t President Trump taking these same steps in response to Russia?”

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