U.S. says North Korea was 'directly responsible' for WannaCry cyberattack

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The US has officially blamed North Korea for the "WannaCry" cyberattacks that disabled hundreds of thousands of computers across more than 150 countries back in May.

Addressing the nation this morning, Department of Homeland Security advisor Tom Bossert restated-in some cases word-for-word-the assertions in an op-ed he penned for the Wall Street Journal last night squarely blaming North Korea for the widespread ransomware attack known as WannaCry.

A spokesman for South Korea's Unification Ministry, which handles North Korean affairs, said on Monday the government was considering "countermeasures", including more sanctions, over the cyber attacks.

The public shaming of the state, which has not been confirmed by the White House, is created to hold the North accountable for its actions and "erode and undercut their ability to launch attacks", the official said. He has ordered the modernization of government information-technology to enhance the security of the systems we run on behalf of the American people. We are not alone with our findings, either. "And we need other countries, not just other companies, to work with us", he added.

The decision to publicly attribute this incident sends a clear message that the United Kingdom and its allies will not tolerate malicious cyber activity, the Foreign Office said.

North Korea's Kim Jong-un has been engaging Mr Trump in a continuously escalating war of words which experts claim is putting the world on the brink of World War 3.

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Trump said the "primary point" of a phone call between himself and the Russian leader on Thursday was to discuss North Korea . Mr Trump has repeatedly highlighted surging United States stock markets as evidence that his political agenda is succeeding.

Security researchers at Cybereason, Google, Kaspersky Lab, Microsoft and Symantec have also said that the tools used in the attack have been previously used by the Lazarus Group. But the fact that exposing North Korean cyber-warfare activities risks alerting them to our own capabilities and perhaps even the methods we use to discover how we can track the hacks speaks against some kind of subterfuge by the administration.

"At this point, some of the benefit that come from this attribution is letting them know that we're going to move to stop their behaviour", he said. "Microsoft traced the attack to the cyber affiliates of the North Korean government, and others in the security community have contributed their analysis".

Now tell us something we didn't already know. So he bought it, and effectively activated a kill switch and ended the spread of WannaCry.

"We believe that some of the criminal activity we are observing originating from North Korea is a result of the regime looking for alternative sources of revenue", she said. "It's the flawless currency for North Korea to be hoarding".

Bossert said the U.S. would "publicly attribute" WannaCry to North Korea, describing the attack as "cowardly, costly and careless".