N. Korea Suspected in WannaCry Attacks

As security researchers investigate last Friday's massive attack from the WannaCry ransomware, they've noticed clues that may link it with a North Korean hacking group that has been blamed for attacking banks across the world.

IT exerts are probing similarities between the WannaCry computer code and malware from Lazarus, a hacking group behind cyber attacks on Sony Pictures in 2014 which was blamed on North Korea.

North Korea may be behind the huge global hack that took down the NHS, experts have said. "That's the attribution that we're after right now", he said at a White House briefing. Find us on Facebook too! I don't want to say we have no clues.

Security Researcher Choi agreed with the idea, saying that North Korea had manufactured ransomware since last August and the cyberattack served as a "perfect opportunity" for the regime to show off their cyber and military capability. We believe this might hold the key to solve some of the mysteries around this attack.

"There is a link", said John Bambenek of Fidelis Cybersecurity. "It could be a freak coincidence", he said.

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James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said US investigators are collecting forensic information - such as internet addresses, samples of malware or information the culprits might have inadvertently left on computers - that could be matched with the handiwork of known hackers.

North Korea's response wasn't available immediately, said Reuters.

While the attacks have raised concerns for cyber authorities and end-users worldwide, they have helped cybersecurity stocks as investors bet governments and corporations will spend more to upgrade their defences. The ransomware also affected governments and other businesses. Barlow said that single payments in some other ransomware cases were more than that, depending on the victim. Among the hot stocks were firms selling online protection services.

"At least 12 South Korean companies have been hit by the WannaCry computer virus", NPR's Lauren Frayer reports from Seoul.

China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported that the virus infiltrated a range of networks, including railway operations, mail delivery, hospitals and government offices. Other cyber security investigators are also working on uncovering the connection of WannaCry to the Lazarus Group. But none reported that they had data encrypted or that they suffered significant disruptions.

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On Monday, Bossert sought to distance the NSA from any blame.

According to security company Symantec, although the revelation does not directly indicate the connection between Lazarus and WannaCry, there are convincing leads to warrant additional investigation. "Previous concerns of a wide-scale infection of domestic institutions did not eventuate".

Technical experts say those organisations with out-of-date software appear to have been most vulnerable, explaining perhaps why so many developing countries have been badly hit.

Noting that the attack coincided with North Korea's missile launch, South Korean security experts suggested that the communist regime might have used the attack as an opportunity to demonstrate their capability to defy global pressure against its nuclear ambitions. Once the malware infects the system, it sends the user a text file with a ransom demand for some $300 worth of Bitcoins. It was one of the fastest spreading ransomware virus the world has seen so far. What is new is the use of a worm to propagate through systems.

Some believe the U.S.is actually responsible for the cyberattack.

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A fifth of regional hospital associations in Britain's National Health Service were affected and several still had to cancel appointments on Monday.

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