US Says North Korea 'Directly Responsible' For 'WannaCry' Ransomware Attack

12_09_17_KimJongUn

This photo taken on November 29 and released on November 30 by North Korea's KCNA shows the Hwansong-15 ICBM, which is capable of reaching all parts of the U.S. Both North Korea and Iran have recently compared President Donald Trump's position toward their respective governments to former President George W. Bush's path to war with Iraq in 2003.

North Korea has defended its actions by claiming such weapons were necessary to deter a US invasion, but Trump and a number of other countries have accused Kim and his government of threatening the stability of the region. The malware infected over 300,000 computers in 150 different countries.

A senior administration official told the Reuters news agency that the White House would issue a formal statement of blame on Tuesday.

Looking ahead, Bessert writes that the USA will take steps to curtail North Korea's "ability to mount attacks, cyber or otherwise".

Bossert also warned that North Korea's "malicious behavior" has been ramping up, but that the United States government intends to respond. As NPR's Bill Chappell reported at the time, WannaCry was found to have "lines of code that are identical to work by hackers known as the Lazarus Group, [which has] ... been linked to North Korea, raising suspicions that the nation could be responsible".

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Also in the op-ed, Bossert says the allegation that North Korea is the culprit was made lightly, but based on evidence. "A company that could bring data back to Russian Federation represents an unacceptable risk on federal networks". A few weeks ago, we charged three Chinese nationals for hacking, theft of trade secrets and identity theft.

Cyber risk modeling firm Cyence estimates the potential costs from the hack at $4 billion, while other groups predict losses would be in the hundreds of millions.

Lazarus Group is widely believed by security researchers and US officials to have been responsible for the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which destroyed files, leaked corporate communications online and led to the departure of several top studio executives.

"It is increasingly using cyberattacks to fund its reckless behavior and cause disruption across the world", Bossert said. According to the piece, the Trump administration "will continue to use our maximum pressure strategy to curb Pyongyang's ability to mount attacks, cyber or otherwise". In further defiance of Trump's warnings, Kim also oversaw the launches of North Korea's first intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in July and launched a third, higher one late last month, showing the country was likely capable of striking any target in the U.S. The four-day joint military drills ended on December 15.

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