Au­thor­i­ties work­ing to pre­vent spread of new ver­sions of virus

New Straits Times - - World -

CY­BER­SE­CU­RITY re­searchers said they have found ev­i­dence to link North Korea with the Wan­naCry cy­ber­at­tack that has in­fected more than 300,000 com­put­ers world­wide as global au­thor­i­ties scramble to pre­vent hack­ers from spread­ing new ver­sions of the virus.

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

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

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

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

Viet­nam’s state me­dia yes­ter­day said more than 200 com­put­ers had been af­fected.

Tai­wan Power Com­pany said nearly 800 of its com­put­ers were af­fected, although they were used for ad­min­is­tra­tion and not in­volved in elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion.

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

“The sim­i­lar­i­ties are not unique enough to be strongly sug­ges­tive of a com­mon op­er­a­tor,” FireEye re­searcher John Miller said.

United States and Euro­pean se­cu­rity of­fi­cials, on con­di­tion of anonymity, said it was too early to say who might be be­hind the at­tacks, but they did not rule out North Korea as a sus­pect. Reuters

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