US to officially accuse North Korea of WannaCry cyber attack: report

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The U.S. is reportedly planning to accuse North Korea of the WannaCry cyberattacks, which caused massive disruptions earlier this year through a computer virus that affected thousands of computers in over 150 countries.

President Trump plans to call on “all responsible states” to combat Pyongyang’s ability to implement hostile cyber attacks, as well as rally the United Nations Security Council to slap on all “relevant” sanctions in response, a U.S. official familiar with the matter told The Washington Post on Monday.

Tom Bossert, the president’s homeland security adviser, will reportedly announce the Trump administration’s plan in an op-ed set to be published on Monday evening with an additional statement on Tuesday morning.


Other states have already announced that they believe North Korea created the computer worm that included ransomware, blocking users from accessing their computer until a ransom was paid.

The United Kingdom in a report released in October said the attacks originated from North Korea.

WannaCry affected institutions across the globe including major European companies, the Russian Ministry of the Interior, Chinese law enforcement and many others.

The official said the WannaCry attack should serve as a warning sign to those affected by the attack that their systems need to be updated, telling the newspaper that it “demonstrates the importance of basic cyber hygiene, including keeping systems patched and up to date, as well as the need for strong cooperation between public and private sectors to share information, prevent and mitigate cyber threats.”

The Post also reported that the CIA had reached a similar conclusion in November after conducting a classified assessment of the attack, months after the National Security Agency (NSA) had linked the virus to the Hermit state.

In a statement, Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said he commended the intelligence community, but questioned why President Trump was willing to believe their conclusions about North Korea but not Russian election meddling.

“President Trump is handling the intelligence assessments regarding North Korea and Russia completely differently, staging an elaborate media roll-out to press on sanctions against North Korea while at the same time discrediting the assessment by these very same intelligence agencies that the Kremlin interfered with our election.  Why isn’t President Trump taking these same steps in response to Russia?  Where are the op-eds pressing for action?  Where is the White House press conference with the President demanding sanctions against Russia?” Cummings said in a statement.

WannaCry is not the first massive cyberattack waged by North Korea.

In 2014, North Korean hackers targeted Sony Pictures networks in an attempt to stop the release of a satirical movie about two American men attempting to assassinate its leader, Kim Jong Un. 
North Korea, the report noted, utilizes hackers as “ a low-cost, high-impact tool” to damage the systems of other nations.

In the past, the U.N. Security Council has previously signed off on sanctions that hit the state it pursued the development of — and then tested — nuclear weapons.

—Updated at 7:55 p.m.

Tags cyberattacks Donald Trump Elijah Cummings National security North Korea WannaCry ransomware attack

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