Experts question North Korea role in WannaCry cyberattack

19 Mai, 2017, 18:43 | Author: Claudine Rigal

The attack includes elements that belong to the U.S. National Security Agency and were leaked online last month.

Computer codes are often shared among different groups, so the matching code isn't definitive proof Lazarus was behind the cyberattack.

A blog post written by the group promised from June to release tools every month to anyone willing to pay for access to some of the tech world's biggest commercial secrets. Haley previously indicated that new sanctions could target oil, a critical import for North Korea mainly from China, and she said Tuesday the US also wants sanctions on organizations and businesses in third countries that are helping Pyongyang. "More details in June", it promised.

This story has been corrected to show that when Haley was answering Putin she was referring to comments about the United States, not the United Nations. Fewer than 10 US organizations have reported attacks to the Department of Homeland Security since Friday, a USA official told reporters on Tuesday. The $4 billion in damage could be far more important to the perpetrators than the $70,000 or less in ransom payments collected.

Since Friday, banks, hospitals and state agencies have been among the victims of hackers exploiting vulnerabilities in older versions of Microsoft computer operating systems and demanding payment in the virtual currency Bitcoin.

U.S. Disarmament Ambassador Wood said China was key given that 90 percent of North Korea's trade was with that country. "We remain highly vigilant", he said.

"The North's WannaCry report is meant to stress the attack has nothing to do with it", a source well-versed in the North said.

Ahead of the hour and a half council session Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said Washington and Beijing are discussing the possibility of additional measures on the North.

An Indian-origin security researcher with Google has found evidence suggesting that North Korean hackers may have carried out the "unprecedented" ransomware cyberattack that hit over 150 countries.

Symantec, Intezer Labs of Israel and Russia's Kaspersky Lab on Monday agreed that a considerable part of the "WannaCry" ransomware is identical with a hacking program used by the Lazarus group, which has ties to North Korea.

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"Neel Mehta's discovery is the most significant clue to date regarding the origins of WannaCry", said Russian security firm Kaspersky, but noted a lot more information is needed about earlier versions of WannaCry before any firm conclusion can be reached.

Reuters reports that South Korea's Hauri Labs confirmed the similarity between WannaCry and "North Korea's backdoor malicious codes", as senior researcher Simon Choi put it. Choi is highly experienced with North Korean cyber-espionage and is an adviser to South Korean intelligence and law enforcement agencies. The NYT notes that this code has only been seen in malware used by hackers linked to North Korea.

"Lazarus Group", that according to Mehta is based in China, was responsible for a major hack on Sony Pictures in 2014 and another on a Bangladeshi bank in 2016. Countless surgeries and appointments were cancelled amid the cyber attack.

"Since a July 2009 cyberattack by North Korea, they used the same method", Choi said.

Several Asian countries have been affected by the malware, although the impact has not been as widespread as some had feared.

Both firms said researchers would need to look at other early versions of WannaCry.

"We may not see the real picture yet, as companies are not mandated to disclose security breaches to authorities in Malaysia", said LE Global CEO Fong Choong Fook. "In one of the cases, the attack was traced back to early April".

He estimated that more than 300,000 computers were taken down around the world.

Taiwan Power Co. TAIWP.UL said that almost 800 of its computers were affected, although these were used for administration, not for systems involved in electricity generation.

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