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19 December 2017, 10:55 | Damon Campbell
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A senior White House official claimed North Korea was responsible for a cyberattack that paralyzed hospitals, banks and companies worldwide in May.
Homeland security adviser Tom Bossert wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that North Korea was "directly responsible" for May's ransomware attack and that Pyongyang would be held accountable.
But, the USA government has assessed with a "very high level of confidence" that a hacking entity known as Lazarus Group, which works on behalf of the North Korean government, carried out the WannaCry attack, senior officials told Reuters.
He said Washington must lead efforts to cooperate with other governments and businesses to "mitigate cyber risk and increase the cost to hackers", and thus improve internet security and resilience.
Bossert said the U.S. would "publicly attribute" WannaCry to North Korea, describing the attack as "cowardly, costly and careless".
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"We do not make this allegation lightly". "When we must, the U.S. will act alone to impose costs and consequences for cyber malfeasance", Bossert added. He wrote that while North Korean cyberattacks have been going on "largely unchecked" for about a decade, such activity has grown "more egregious" and WannaCry was "indiscriminately reckless". Now, seven months later, we finally know who was behind the widespread ransomware campaign: North Korea.
"The consequences and repercussions of WannaCry were beyond economic", he wrote. Government offices in Russia, Spain, and several other countries were disrupted, as were Asian universities, Germany's national railway and global companies such as automakers Nissan and Renault.
Pyongyang has previously denied being responsible for the attack.
"The US is trying to shift responsibility for tensions on the Korean Peninsula to us with its dialogue offensive", the North Korean daily Rodong Sinmun said in a report. "The United Kingdom attributes the attack to North Korea, and Microsoft traced the attack to cyber affiliates of the North Korean government". According to Reuters, Washington is expected to release an official statement on the matter on Tuesday.
Days after the assault, security researchers began to suspect North Korea was behind the attack.
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