WannaCry Cyber Attack Blamed on North Korea

Crime, News | December 19, 2017 By:

The United States government has publicly blamed North Korea for the massive ransomware attack called “WannaCry” that infected computers around the world earlier this year. President Donald Trump is expected to issue a public statement today.

In May of this year, the WannaCry ransomware shut down hospitals, telecom providers, and many businesses worldwide, infecting an estimated 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries, encrypting files and then charging victims $300-$600 in bitcoin to decrypt the files. WannaCry made $140,000 in bitcoins from the victims who paid for the decryption keys.

Tom Bossert, homeland security adviser to President Donald Trump, said the attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea is directly responsible.

“North Korea has acted especially badly, largely unchecked, for more than a decade, and its malicious behavior is growing more egregious,” Bossert said. “We do not make this allegation lightly. It is based on evidence. We are not alone with our findings, either.”

South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) also suspected that North Korea was behind hacking attacks on cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb, South Korea’s biggest exchange and one of the five largest in the world, in which some 7.6 billion won ($6.99 million) worth of cryptocurrencies were stolen.

According to reports, the North Korean hackers stole the personal information of some 30,000 people. The data leak is believed to have led to the draining of funds from an unknown number of accounts. The hackers also demanded a further $5.5 million from Bithumb in exchange for deleting traders’ personal information.

The NIS also believed that North Korea was behind the hacking of another crypto exchange, Coinis, in September. The agency said it has officially passed the evidence of the allegations to the prosecutors.