Global Cyber Attacks Linked to North Korean Hacks

Global Cyber Attacks Linked to  North Korean HacksGlobal Cyber Attacks Linked to  North Korean Hacks

Cyber security researchers have found evidence they say could link North Korea with the WannaCry cyber attack that has infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide, as global authorities scrambled to prevent hackers from spreading new versions of the virus.

A researcher from South Korea’s Hauri Labs said on Tuesday their own findings matched those of Symantec and Kaspersky Lab, who said on Monday that some code in an earlier version of the WannaCry software had also appeared in programs used by the Lazarus Group, identified by some researchers as a North Korea-run hacking operation, Reuters reported.

“It is similar to North Korea’s backdoor malicious codes,” Simon Choi, a senior researcher with Hauri who has done extensive research into North Korea’s hacking capabilities and advises South Korean police and National Intelligence Service.

Both Symantec and Kaspersky said it was too early to tell whether North Korea was involved in the attacks, based on the evidence that was published on Twitter by Google security researcher, Neel Mehta.

The attacks, which slowed on Monday, are among the fastest-spreading extortion campaigns on record. Damage in Asia, however, has been limited.

Vietnam’s state media said on Tuesday more than 200 computers had been affected. Taiwan Power Co. said that nearly 800 of its computers were affected, although these were used for administration, not for systems involved in electricity generation.

FireEye Inc, another large cyber security firm, said it was also investigating but cautious about drawing a link to North Korea.

“The North appears to have stepped up cyber attacks in recent years in a bid to earn hard foreign currency in the face of United Nations sanctions imposed over its nuclear and missile programs,” Simon Choi, director of Seoul Internet security firm Hauri, said.

He claimed to have last year tracked down an elite North Korean hacker who boasted online that the country was conducting tests for ransomware attacks.

On an online messenger system, Choi told Reuters, “He said he and his colleagues were running tests for ransomware attacks.”


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