USA blames North Korea for 'WannaCry' cyber attack

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"What we see is a continued pattern of North Korea misbehaving, whether destructive cyber attacks, hacking for financial gain, or targeting infrastructure around the globe", the official said.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The country has repeatedly denied responsibility for WannaCry and called other allegations about cyber attacks a smear campaign.

Kim Jong-un's regime has always been suspected of the WannaCry cyber attack which targeted 150 countries and sent numerous UK's NHS hospitals into meltdown.

The U.K. government in October blamed North Korea for the attack on the NHS.

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Soon after the attack, experts at the global cyber-security firm Symantec found that earlier versions of the WannaCry ransomware were found on computers that also bore evidence of the cyber tools used against Sony Pictures Entertainment, banks in Poland and Bangladesh's central bank.

President Donald Trump's administration is publicly blaming North Korea for a ransomware attack that infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide in May and crippled parts of Britain's National Health Service. The attack originally looked like a standard ransomware intrusion, but researchers believe that was a ruse to disguise a more malicious intent.

South Korea also a year ago accused North Korea of hacking the personal data of more than 10 million users of an online shopping site and dozens of email accounts used by government officials and journalists. The worldwide shipper said in September it expected to sustain a $300 million profit hit as a result of the attack. As NPR's Bill Chappell reported at the time, WannaCry was found to have "lines of code that are identical to work by hackers known as the Lazarus Group, [which has]. been linked to North Korea, raising suspicions that the nation could be responsible". The senior administration official declined to comment about whether US intelligence was able to discern if the attack was deliberate.

But following accusation from Theresa May's security minister Ben Wallace, North Korea hit back saying the statement was "despicable" and "an act beyond the limit of our tolerance". Earlier this month, North Korea said it had successfully tested a breakthrough intercontinental ballistic missile that could place the entire USA mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.

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