20:27 GMT +323 January 2020
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    US White House Homeland security and counterterrorism adviser Tom Bossert has officially accused North Korea of the WannaCry cyberattacks that infected hundreds of thousands computers around the world.

    The official statement by Tom Bossert, Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Adviser, comes in his op-ed published Monday in the Wall Street Journal.

    "The attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea is directly responsible," the statement reads.

    "We do not make this allegation lightly. It is based on evidence," Bossert writes. "The United Kingdom attributes the attack to North Korea, and Microsoft traced the attack to cyber affiliates of the North Korean government."

    According to Bossert, Microsoft and Facebook took initiative and stopped attacks from North Korean hackers as they were taking place last week without any coordination or assistance from the federal government.

    In its turn, Facebook has announced that it had deleted accounts on a platform operated by a hacking group affiliated with North Korea.

    Who Are to Blame?

    According to the statement, North Korea must be held accountable for the attack.

    "Stopping malicious behavior like this starts with accountability," he writes. "Malicious hackers belong in prison, and totalitarian governments should pay a price for their actions."

    The statement also mentions other countries: unsurprisingly, those are Iran and (of course) Russia.

    "We brought charges against Iranian hackers who hacked several US companies, including HBO. If those hackers travel, we will arrest them and bring them to justice," Bossert writes, also mentioning the Kaspersky software scandal.

    The statement also mentions a direct and one-sided action against North Korea.

    "When we must, the US will act alone to impose costs and consequences for cyber malfeasance," the statement reads.

    "Mr. 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," it says in conclusion.

    More Accusations Follow

    Thomas Bossert has stated that many countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Japan what North Korea stands behind the WannaCry attack.

    Britain's Foreign Office minister Tariq Ahmad has commented on the matter, saying that according to Britain's National Cyber Security Centre's probe, North Korea's Lazarus hack group was allegedly behind one of the most massive cyber attacks that hit the UK.

    "The indiscriminate use of the WannaCry ransomware demonstrates North Korean actors using their cyber programme to circumvent sanctions," Ahmad said.

    The attack began on Friday, May 12, 2017, and infected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries within just a single day. Many companies and public services around the world were affected. The ransomware demanded $300 to $600 in bitcoins as ransom.


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    statement, WannaCry virus, White House, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), United States
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