North Korea was behind the WannaCry cyberattacks, says the White House

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A senior White House official claimed North Korea was responsible for a cyberattack that paralyzed hospitals, banks and companies worldwide in May.

In an op-ed piece posted on the Wall Street Journal website Monday night, Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert said that North Korea was "directly responsible" for the WannaCry ransomware attack, and that Pyongyang will be held accountable for it.

Bossert also called the attack reckless, while Reuters cites a "senior administration official" who declined to comment on whether or not the U.S. believes it was a deliberate attack or accidental.

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.

Bossert called the attack in which victims received ransom demands to unlock their computers "cowardly, costly and careless". It said the Central Intelligence Agency had already laid blame on North Korea for the attack in November, though the assessment was classified and had not yet been previously reported. "When we must, the U.S. will act alone to impose costs and consequences for cyber malfeasance", Bossert added. "WannaCry was indiscriminately reckless", Bossert wrote.

"Other governments and private companies agree", he wrote.

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Baik Tae-hyun, spokesman of South Korea's Unification Ministry, which deals with matters related to North Korea, said Monday that the Seoul government was examining whether the North was behind hacking attacks on a cryptocurrency exchange in June.

Bossert warned of the threat from Russian hackers and touted legal action taken against suspected hackers as well as the Trump administration's decision to ban software from the Russia-based company Kaspersky Lab in government computers.

"We brought charges against Iranian hackers who hacked several USA companies, including HBO".

President Donald Trump "has already pulled many levers of pressure to address North Korea's unacceptable nuclear and missile developments, and we will continue to use our maximum pressure strategy to curb Pyongyang's ability to mount attacks, cyber or otherwise".

The United States and South Korea have accused North Korea of launching a series of cyberattacks in recent years, though the North has dismissed the accusations.

Ahead of the claims about North Korea being responsible for the WannaCry attack, on Monday, the USA military released photos of massive joint drills it underwent recently with its ally South Korea, and have called the exercise 'Warrior Strike IX'.

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