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Experts question North Korea role in WannaCry cyberattack
20 May 2017, 12:20 | Megan Pierce
WannaCry ransomware possibly linked to North Korea
WannaCry uses two exploits, both believed to have been created by the National Security Agency, to encrypt data on infected machines and "ransom" it back to the machines' owners.
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.
James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said US investigators are collecting forensic information such as internet addresses, samples of malware or information the culprits might have inadvertently left on computers that could be matched with the handiwork of known hackers. "More details in June", it promised.
Desperate users whose data had been taken hostage paid some US$70,000 in bitcoin to the hackers, who targeted computers that run on the Windows operating system across 150 countries.
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Ambulances taking patients to some hospitals were forced to follow procedures that diverted them to other units after the health service was left crippled by a "ransomware" cyber attack on Friday.
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Proofpoint executive Ryan Kalember said the authors may have earned more than $1 million, far more than has been generated by the WannaCry attack.
It matches code used in a 2016 hack of worldwide banks and mirrors methods used in the 2014 Sony hack - both hacks have since been linked to North Korea-run Lazarus Group. "It is similar to North Korea's backdoor malicious codes", said Choi.
North Korea is alleged, behind the massive cyber-attack that struck the entire world by infecting no less than 200.000 computers from all around the world, reports one of the world's most influential cyber-security companies.
Kaspersky's researchers said this was the most "significant" clue to date about WannaCry's origins. If recent theories are to be believed, then the infamous Lazarus Group might also have had something to do with the cyber-attack. Also, there are questions about whether the WannaCry attack is consistent with the strategy employed by North Korean-aligned hacker gangs.
China, one of North Korea's few trading partners and its chief enabler, was among the worst hit by the ransomware attack. North Korean officials were not immediately available for comment and its state media has been quiet about the matter.
Several Asian countries have been affected by the malware, although the impact has not been as widespread as some had feared. However, at this point cyber security experts are not dismissing any possibilities as they try to wrap their heads around the scope and severity of this attack.
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