North Korea's long history of hacking

North Korea's long history of hacking

Cybersecurity researchers on Tuesday said they have found evidence [Kapersky Lab report] that could link North Korea to the recent cyberattack that affected 300,000 computers in 150 countries over the weekend.

Researchers have said some of the code used in Friday's ransomware, WannaCry, was almost identical to the code used by the Lazarus Group, a group of North Korean hackers who used a similar version for the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014 and last year's hack of Bangladesh Central Bank.

Madden said the North, officially known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, if it had a role at all, could have instead been involved by giving or providing parts of the packet used in the attack to another state-sponsored hacking group with whom it is in contact.

He claimed to have a year ago tracked down an elite North Korean hacker who boasted online that the country was conducting tests for ransomware attacks. "Symantec identified the presence of tools exclusively used by Lazarus on machines also infected with earlier versions of WannaCry", Symantec wrote in a blog post.

Another security company, Symantec, has also found similarities between WannaCry and Lazarus tools, and said it's "continuing to investigate for stronger connections".

"The North's WannaCry report is meant to stress the attack has nothing to do with it", a source well-versed in the North said.

The researchers said it was too early to confirm that Pyongyang was behind the cyberattacks.

So far, the attack has affected machines belonging to the United Kingdom's National Health Service, Spain's Telefónica, FedEx and others.

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"Lazarus Group", that according to Mehta is based in China, was responsible for a major hack on Sony Pictures in 2014 and another on a Bangladeshi bank in 2016.

Experts are questioning whether North Korea was behind the WannaCry cyberattack attack, saying it doesn't fit the pattern of previous hacks blamed on Pyongyang.

Since Friday, banks, hospitals and state agencies have been among the victims of hackers exploiting vulnerabilities in older versions of Microsoft computer operating systems and demanding payment in the virtual currency Bitcoin. Some alleged North Korean-related cyberattacks have also been traced back to a hotel in Shenyang, China near the Korean border. Kaspersky said "further research can be crucial to connecting the dots".

Scott said he believes North Korea would likely have attacked more strategic targets - two of the hardest-hit countries, China and Russian Federation, are the North's closest strategic allies - or tried to capture more significant profits.

Microsoft said on Tuesday it was aware of Shadow Brokers' most recent claim and that its security teams monitor potential threats in order to "help us prioritize and take appropriate action". The U.S. government has not commented directly on the matter.

Cisco Systems closed up 2.3 percent and was the second-biggest gainer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, as investors focused more on opportunities that the attack presented for technology firms than the risk it posed to corporations.

Shares in firms that provide cyber security services rose sharply, led by Israel's Cyren Ltd and USA -based FireEye.

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