Saturday, 24 June, 2017

Experts question North Korea role in WannaCry cyberattack

Kayla Schwartz | 20 May, 2017, 00:20

Who was behind the huge global cyber-attack?

You may not have heard of the Lazarus Group, but you may be aware of its work. The exact nature of Lazarus is cloudy, but it is thought by some to be a mixture of North Korean hackers operating in cahoots with Chinese "cyber-mercenaries" willing to at times do Pyongyang's bidding.

Lazarus is associated with North Korea and has a long history of wantonly destructive behavior - most notoriously including the attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment over the movie The Interview, which was seen as insulting to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

Governments turned their attention to a possible new wave of cyber threats on Tuesday after the group that leaked United States hacking tools used to launch the global WannaCry "ransomware" attack warned it would release more malicious code.

Other industry giants such as Kaspersky Labs and Symantec concurred, but Choi cautioned against jumping to conclusions, warning the evidence is circumstantial.

"However, it's worth further investigation".

The potential link was highlighted on Monday by a researcher from Google who posted a message on Twitter showing a sample of the WannaCry malware that appeared online in February.

"Looking back to the Bangladesh attack, in the early days, there were very few facts linking them to the Lazarus Group". "We want to see more coding similarities to give us more confidence". While these connections exist, they so far only represent weak connections.

Identifying hackers behind sophisticated attacks is a notoriously hard task.

Roadside bomb kills 11; Afghan policeman kills 5 colleagues
Loyalists of the Syria-based terrorist group operate out of several remote districts in the province, which borders Pakistan. The Taliban have not claimed the responsibility, but the provincial government has blamed the militant group for the attack.

UNITED NATIONS The United States said on Tuesday it believed it could persuade China to impose new U.N. sanctions on North Korea following its latest ballistic missile test and warned that Washington would also target and "call out" countries supporting Pyongyang.

"As South Korea's diplomatic situation matures, North Korea should also show a more mature attitude, not a childish one, and contribute to (establishing a better) diplomatic relationship".

Symantec said in a statement to Motherboard: "We discovered that earlier versions of WannaCry in April and early May that weren't widely distributed, unlike the recent outbreak, were found on systems shortly after being compromised with known Lazarus tools".

"The similarity of course could be a false flag operation".

"There's a lot of ifs in there", added Prof Woodward.

The kingdom's electronic security agency says about 18 percent of Saudi Telecom's computers were affected by the cyberattack.

South Korea said in December that North Korea had hacked its military intranet and leaked confidential information.

Second, North Korean cyber-attacks have typically been far more targeted, often with a political goal in mind.

A major attack on Sony Pictures brought the movie studio to its knees in 2014. But then of course, maybe the ransom was a distraction for some other political goal not yet clear. "They have really tried to help us in our communications with North Korea". "More info to come".

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