The US administration has officially pinned the cyber-attack blame on North Korea and this will be the first time that North Korea will be blamed by the US.
The WannaCry malware attack disrupted business activities in May by hitting over 300,000 computers worldwide in hospitals, banks, and businesses. Victims were asked to pay a certain amount of ransom in bitcoin. This resulted in a huge loss of over $1b.
Thomas Bossert, the adviser to the president on homeland security made the official accusation, basing his argument on evidence. He said, ‘In furtherance of both, and after careful investigation, the US today publicly attributes the massive WannaCry cyberattack to North Korea’.
The British Security officials also hold North Korea responsible for the attack and in fact, their investigations revealed that the attack was launched by a group named Lazarus, the same group suspected to have targeted Sony Pictures in 2014, after a film featuring the killing of its leader, Kim Jong-un was released.
The British attack hit the National Health Service the most. As medical activities came to a halt, about 48 health centres were forced to turn down the previously booked appointment of patients and even surgeries. It spread to other countries, hitting Russia badly. There, the postal services were disrupted.
In November, North Korea was enlisted as a country that has repeatedly provided support for terrorist groups and Mr. Bossert has insisted that the country must be held accountable for the mayhem it has caused. ‘North Korea has acted especially badly, largely unchecked, for more than a decade, and its malicious behaviour is growing more egregious. WannaCry was indiscriminately reckless’, he said.
He said further that the US government will continue ‘to hold accountable those who harm’ or threaten their businesses independently or ‘on behalf of criminal organisations or hostile nations’.
While some researchers believe that the WannaCry is an accidental development deployed by hackers in North Korea. It remains uncertain if the attack was a deliberate action or not. The senior administration official is yet to make an official statement concerning this. ‘What we see is a continued pattern of North Korea misbehaving, whether destructive cyber-attacks, hacking for financial gain or targeting infrastructure around the globe’, the official said.
In view of this, the Microsoft President, Brad Smith has criticised the NSA for failing to reveal the vulnerabilities for them to be fixed, instead of hoarding valuable information to prevent further attacks.