Security researchers: North Korea possible source of WannaCry cyber attack

Alicia Cross
May 20, 2017

A screenshot shows a WannaCry ransomware demand, provided by cyber security firm Symantec, in Mountain View, California, U.S. May 15, 2017. Fewer than 10 US organizations have reported attacks to the Department of Homeland Security since Friday, a USA official told reporters on Tuesday.

Desperate users whose data had been taken hostage paid some US$70,000 in bitcoin to the hackers, who targeted computers that run on the Windows operating system across 150 countries.

A security researcher for Google appears to be the first to have noticed the link.

"We are not aware of payments that have led to any data recovery", White House Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert said at a daily briefing.

The North is internationally suspected of having committed the ransomware attack as it is believed to have associated with Lazarus Group, which is also suspected of hacking into South Korean banks in 2013, Sony Pictures in 2014 and Bangladesh's central bank in February.

Cyber security researchers around the world have said they found evidence that could link North Korea with WannaCry.

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Simon Choi, a director at anti-virus software company Hauri Inc. who has analyzed North Korean malware since 2008 and advises the government on cyberattacks, said the North is no newcomer to the world of bitcoins and has been mining the digital currency using malicious computer programs since as early as 2013.

The officials spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation. Private researchers reached a similar conclusion.

And previous year, the group was accused of stealing $81 million from a bank in Bangladesh.

"Since a July 2009 attack by North Korea, they used the same method".

But the paper did not comment whether the North had suffered the attack.

Several Asian countries have been affected by the malware, although the impact has not been as widespread as some had feared. Taiwan Power Co. said that nearly 800 of its computers were affected, although these were used for administration, not for systems involved in electricity generation.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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