U.S. government names North Korea as the source of WannaCry

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The US is set on publicly blaming Pyongyang for carrying out an unprecedented cyber attack, which caused widespread destruction to around the world earlier this year.

A Trump official claims in an op-ed that the USA has proof that it was North Korea behind the WannaCry cyber attack, citing a "careful investigation".

British security officials suspected that North Korea was behind the WannaCry attacks, linking them to a group called Lazarus that was also behind the 2014 cyberattacks on Sony Pictures, the BBC reported in June.

The White House has publicly blamed North Korea for a ransomware attack in May that locked more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries.

Thomas Bossert, an aide to US President Donald Trump, made the accusation in the Wall Street Journal newspaper.

According to Bossert, those responsible for the cyber attacks against the USA would be held accountable, but did not mention any specifics regarding the actions Washington was considering taking against the rogue state.

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The public shaming of North Korea, which has not been confirmed by the White House, is created to hold the regime accountable for its actions and "erode and undercut their ability to launch attacks", the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

"After careful investigation, the US today publicly attributes the massive "WannaCry" cyberattack to North Korea", Bessert writes.

"We do not make this allegation lightly", he wrote. "It is based on evidence".

Other governments and private companies including the United Kingdom and Microsoft agree with the US's conclusion, he said. "When we must, the U.S. will act alone to impose costs and consequences for cyber malfeasance", Bossert added. He implored private companies to build up their defenses against North Korea and other "bad actors" in cyberspace, and singled out Microsoft in particular for taking actions last week to "disrupt activities of North Korean hackers", without elaborating on the details.

The op-ed called on world governments and businesses to cooperate with the USA to fight cyber threats. "Malicious hackers belong in prison, and totalitarian governments should pay a price for their actions".

In May 2017, the global WannaCry cyber attack targeted computers around the world that used the Windows operating system.