White House adviser says NKorea behind big ransomware attack

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Earlier this year, a nasty piece of ransomware dubbed "WannaCry" began infecting computers all across the globe. It caused individual machines to lock up and demanded a $300 ransom to be paid in Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Compounding matters is that the ransom amount was created to increase if users didn't make a prompt payment.

North Korea was behind the cyberattack that infected over 200,000 computers in over 150 countries this past summer, the Trump administration revealed Monday. What's more, it even impacted and wreaked havoc on computer systems at sensitive locations like hospitals.

As a result, the Trump administration will be calling on "all responsible states" to counter North Korea's ability to conduct cyber attacks, and to implement all "relevant" United Nations Security Council sanctions, according to a USA official familiar with the matter. "The attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea is directly responsible".

Mr Bossert was writing in the Wall Street Journal as Mr Trump unveiled a new United States national security strategy which includes strengthening the country's cyber defence capabilities.

While this isn't the first report we've seen implicating North Korea, this is the first time the U.S. Government, in an official capacity, has chimed in on the matter.

"After careful investigation, the USA today publicly attributes the massive "WannaCry" cyberattack to North Korea", Thomas Bossert, the president's homeland security adviser, wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Monday evening. "We do not make this accusation lightly - we do so with evidence and with partners".

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The findings come as the U.S. has sought to pressure Kim Jong Un's government to end the pariah nation's nuclear and missile programs.

Jeanette Manfra, assistant secretary for the office of cybersecurity and communications at the Department of Homeland Security, announced that the federal government was planning to significantly expand its role engaging with private sector companies in the near future to combat similar threats.

Bossert said the finding was based on evidence and that it had been confirmed by other governments and private companies, including the United Kingdom and Microsoft. "The indiscriminate use of the WannaCry ransomware demonstrates North Korean actors using their cyber programme to circumvent sanctions".

Independent research groups have previously attributed the attack to North Korea.

A senior administration official told the Reuters news agency that the White House would issue a formal statement of blame on Tuesday.