Home Security NSA links WannaCry to North Korea: report

NSA links WannaCry to North Korea: report

The WannaCry worm that hit Windows systems in May has been linked to North Korea by the US National Security Agency in an assessment that is described as "not conclusive".

A report in The Washington Post cited intelligence officials as saying that the assessment was based on analysing tactics, target and techniques that point with "moderate confidence" to North Korea's spy agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau.

The NSA is not the first entity to offer such an assessment; security firms Symantec, Kaspersky Lab and Group I-B all said last month that North Korea was the likely culprit.

WannaCry was built using an NSA exploit which had been leaked on the Web by a group called Shadow Brokers.

The assessment claimed that WannaCry was a bid to raise money for North Korea's government. But the effort was flawed and all the ransom money that had been collected was trackable; hence it had not been cashed in.

Former NSA employee Jake Williams was quoted by the Post as saying he believed the malware had accidentally been released during a testing phase.

“This is a case where you’ve got a weaponised, government-sponsored exploit (or hacking tool) being used to deliver ransomware. If North Korea goes unchecked with this, I would expect other developing nations to follow suit. I think that would change the cyber threat landscape quite a bit," Williams said.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.