North Korea 'directly responsible' for cyberattack in May, White House official says

US Says N. Korea Was Behind Wanna Cry Cyberattack

Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert made the announcement in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, and was expected to provide more details in a briefing with reporters. He wrote that while North Korean cyberattacks have been going on "largely unchecked" for about a decade, such activity has grown "more egregious" and WannaCry was "indiscriminately reckless".

North Korea on Tuesday rejected a recent offer by the USA for talks without preconditions, calling it a ploy to make Pyongyang give up its nuclear programme.

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. "When we must, the U.S. will act alone to impose costs and consequences for cyber malfeasance", Bossert added.

"Other governments and private companies agree".

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"Malicious hackers belong in prison, and totalitarian governments should pay a price for their actions", he wrote, adding "The tool kits of totalitarian regimes are too threatening to ignore". 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.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Based off of an NSA exploit, WannaCry specifically targeted Windows machines and prevented users from accessing their files unless they agreed to make a $300 payment in Bitcoin.

Ahead of the claims about North Korea being responsible for the WannaCry attack, on Monday, the United States military released photos of massive joint drills it underwent recently with its ally South Korea, and have called the exercise 'Warrior Strike IX'. An earlier version of the WannaCry ransomware shared coding similarities with past hacks from the Lazarus Group, a shadowy hacking collective many believe work for the North Korean government.

While North Korea is the main focus of Bossert's claims in the Op-Ed, he does not forget to talk about alleged 2016 election meddling by Russian hackers or the US's issues with Iran either. The official said they had a "very high level of confidence" that hacking outfit Lazarus Group carried out the attack on behalf of the North Korean government.

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