Trump administration blames North Korea for 'WannaCry' ransomware


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Reuters

The administration is calling on the private sector to do more to prevent such incidents, Bossert said, adding that Microsoft and others had taken action last week to disrupt North Korean hacking efforts.

The US government is officially blaming North Korea for the WannaCry ransomware attack that struck computers across the world back in May.

Bossert said that North Korea "acted especially badly". But the shaming is created to hold North Korea accountable for its actions and "erode and undercut their ability to launch attacks", the official said.

The US 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, a senior administration official said.

While the North is believed to run a cyber warfare operation, which has traditionally targeted the South, the regime has repeatedly denied WannaCry allegations.

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The malware spread to thousands of computers in over 150 countries, encrypting data and demanding BitCoin payments as ransom.

In recent years, the objective of North Korean cyber crime has shifted from intelligence gathering and stealing strategic information to stealing funds from foreign financial institutions, reports Reuters, reflecting a new reality for the dictatorship as it fights to get out from under a smothering blanket of sanctions.

"We brought charges against Iranian hackers who hacked several USA companies, including HBO. We will rally our allies, and we will ensure the again the leader in securing the internet we invented". "These disruptions put lives at risk".

President Donald Trump "has already pulled many levers of pressure to address North Korea's unacceptable nuclear and missile developments, and we will continue to use our maximum pressure strategy to curb Pyongyang's ability to mount attacks, cyber or otherwise".

Ahead of the claims about North Korea being responsible for the WannaCry attack, on Monday, the United States military released photos of massive joint drills it underwent recently with its ally South Korea, and have called the exercise 'Warrior Strike IX'. The four-day joint military drills ended on December 15.

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