An aide to the President of the United States, Donald Trump, has directly blamed North Korea for the devastating WannaCry ransomware attack that struck businesses and hospitals earlier this year.
Marking the first time that the US has directly blamed the country, Thomas Bossert, expressed the belief via the Wall Street Journal. Bossert is tasked with advising the president on Homeland Security, and he said that “evidence” formed the basis of the accusation.
White House Homeland Security Adviser, Bossert, said: “After careful investigation, the US today publicly attributes the massive ‘WannaCry’ cyberattack to North Korea.”
The infamous hacking organisation believed to be connected to North Korea, The Lazarus Group, had already been pointed to as an instigator of the attack by major security organisations including Kaspersly Lab, due to finding traces of code used in previous attacks.
“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,” Bossert said.
Microsoft Windows vulnerabilities were exploited by the WannaCry attack, inflicting damage and disruption globally. The NHS in the United Kingdom was among the worst affected when it became riddled with the worm due to unpatched, outdated Windows operating systems.
As many as 150 countries experienced the effects of the notorious attack, with in excess of 200,000 computer systems being compromised by the attack that demanded a bitcoin payment.
While this direct accusation is a first from the United States, the UK government has already expressed the belief that North Korea was behind WannaCry. In October, speaking to the BBC, the Minister for Security, Ben Wallace, said: “This attack, we believe quite strongly that it came from a foreign state… North Korea was the state that we believe was involved in this worldwide attack on our systems,” he told the BBC.