Last May the broad-reaching “WannaCry” cyber attack spread around the world and cost billions of dollars, crippling computers in hospitals, businesses, schools and homes. The White House on Monday verified who the perpetrator was.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed article, White House Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert announced that the country responsible for the attack was none other than North Korea. Surprised?
“Cybersecurity isn’t easy,” wrote Bossert. “But simple principles still apply. Accountability is one, cooperation another. 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 was so pervasive that it spread across the world. Hundreds of thousands of computers were rendered useless. The nastiness of it was due to the ransom levied against infected computers.
The ransom demanded users to pay up in bitcoins to release or unlock their computers, according to Fox News. Unfortunately, the attackers had no obligation to release the computers even after payment.
“While victims received ransom demands, paying did not unlock their computers,” said Bossert. “It was cowardly, costly and careless. The attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea is directly responsible.”
The United Kingdom corroborated the U.S.’s attribution of North Korea as the culprit; in addition, Microsoft was also able to trace the attack to affiliates of the regime. The attack targeted computers running Windows software.
“North Korea has acted especially badly, largely unchecked, for more than a decade, and its malicious behavior is growing more egregious,” said Bossert. “WannaCry was indiscriminately reckless. Stopping malicious behavior like this starts with accountability. It also requires governments and businesses to cooperate to mitigate cyber risk and increase cost to hackers.”
“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,” he added.
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