North Korea possibly behind global WannaCry attack [cybersecurity experts]

Joan Terry
May 19, 2017

Governments turned their attention to a possible new wave of cyber threats on Tuesday after the group that leaked USA hacking tools used to launch the global WannaCry "ransomware" attack warned it would release more malicious code. Security expert Prof Alan Woodward said time stamps within the original WannaCry code are set to UTC +9 - China's time zone - and the text demanding the ransom uses what reads like machine- translated English, but a Chinese segment is apparently written by a native speaker, the report said.

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. His findings is similar to those of Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ: SYMC) and Kaspersky Lab.

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.

Choi said that if North Korea's culpability is proven, the world should start taking their capabilities seriously and ensure consequences for such actions. But North Korea has been preparing cyber skills for more than 10 years and its skill is significant.

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More attacks were possible, Choi said, "especially given that, unlike missile or nuclear tests, they can deny their involvement in attacks in cyberspace and get away with it".

Mr. Hoi made it clear, "We are talking about a possibility, not that this was done by North Korea".

Kaspersky Lab stated that it is important for researchers around the world to investigate the similarities of the code to find the origin of the WannaCry cyberattack.

"The similarities we see between malware linked to that group and WannaCry are not unique enough to be strongly suggestive of a common operator", its researcher John Miller said.

Other reports by BadHub

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