WannaCry Was Instigated by North Korea, says British Intelligence

By Tom Pritchard on at

Last month the world came face to face with WannaCry, a nasty piece of ransomware that exploited a security hole in Windows, which managed to infect a ridiculous number of computers all over the world - including a large number of NHS systems. Now, though, it seems British Intelligence is blaming North Korea for the attacks.

Sources speaking to ZDNet claim that an investigation by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the cybersecurity division of GCHQ, has concluded that North Korea's Lazarus Group was behind the attacks. If that name sounds familiar, it's because they're the same group that hacked Sony back at the tail-end of 2014.

It's already been confirmed that the exploit WannaCry took advantage of, known as Eternal Blue, was designed by the the US National Security Agency, with details leaking on line earlier this year.

This information would corroborate reports from the NSA and various security researchers, who all linked the Lazarus Group to WannaCry. The NSA analysed tactics, techniques and targets, leaving the agency with 'moderate confidence' that North Korea was involved. The Security Researchers, on the other hand, suspect their involvement due to the presence of some code that has been linked to Lazarus in the past.

ZDNet claims that a spokesperson for the NCSC wouldn't confirm or deny the reports. I've emailed asking for comment, and will update if I hear back.

The question now is why North Korea would actually be involved in all this. The obvious answer would be money, though it's been made clear that very few people actually paid the ransom to unlock all their data. There's also the strong possibility that this was cyber-espionage, designed to disrupt digital systems and generally cause chaos for North Korea's enemies - which is basically everyone except China.

Who knows, really. It's not like Kim Jong Un is going to stand on a podium and tell everyone that yes, it was he who caused all those computers to lock up. [ZDNet via Ubergizmo]

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