On May 12, the ransomware program dubbed WannaCry swept the globe in one of the largest cyber-attacks of all time. Over 150 countries were affected and hundreds of thousands of computers have been infected since.
Ransomware, commonly known as a computer “virus,” is a type of malicious software that encrypts computer data. The WannaCry ransomware targets a software vulnerability called EternalBlue. WannaCry then encrypts files and demands a payment of $300 dollars in the virtual currency Bitcoin to be able to access files.
The Trump administration claims North Korea is directly responsible for the cyber-attack.
“The attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea is directly responsible,” Thomas P. Bossert, the President’s Homeland Security Advisor said. “We do not make this allegation lightly. It is based on evidence. We are not alone with our findings, either.”
North Korea has been responsible for multiple cyber attacks in the past, operating through the hacking group known as Lazarus. The group was behind the 2014 Sony hack, as well as various other attacks on financial institutions and other companies.
However, North Korea denies involvement in these WannaCry attacks, stating that the Trump Administration’s statement was an attempt to start a “global confrontation.”
“As we have clearly stated on several occasions, we have nothing to do with cyber attack and we do not feel a need to respond, on a case-by-case basis, to such absurd allegations of the U.S.,” the spokesperson said. “However, we can never tolerate the U.S. reckless move of using the issue of cyber attack for the purpose of making direct accusation against our state.”
Despite North Korea’s denial, several other countries, support the U.S. statement against North Korea. The U.K, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Japan all agree that North Korea is responsible for the global cyber attack.
If the allegations are proven true, they will demonstrate North Korea’s increased capabilities in cyber warfare, possibly opening a new kind of battlefront to defend.