The US is poised to publicly blame North Korea for carrying out an unprecedented cyber-attack that caused widespread disruption to public services, companies and homes around the world earlier this year.
The regime was “directly responsible” for the WannaCry attack that crippled hospitals, banks and other infrastructure in May, a senior White House official said. The malware infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries.
“The attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea is directly responsible,” Tom Bossert, homeland security adviser to Donald Trump, wrote in an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal.
Bossert said those responsible for carrying out cyber-attacks against the US would be held accountable, but he did not mention specific actions Washington was considering taking against Pyongyang.
News reports quoted a senior Trump administration official as saying that the US had surmised “with a very high level of confidence” that the Lazarus Group, a hacking organisation that works on behalf of the North Korean government, was behind the WannaCry ransomware attack.
Ransomware is a particularly nasty type of malware that blocks access to a computer or its data and demands money to release it.