Microsoft says North Korea was behind WannaCry ransomware attack
MICROSOFT’S PRESIDENT AND chief legal officer has said that North Korea was behind the WannaCry attack that affected hundreds of organisations worldwide, including the NHS.
“I think at this point that all observers in the know have concluded that WannaCry was caused by North Korea using cyber tools or weapons that were stolen from the National Security Agency in the United States,” said Brad Smith.
Smith also said cyber attacks conducted by nation states have become more frequent and more severe. He added that governments around the world needed to do more to protect people from harm.
“We need governments to come together as they did in Geneva in 1949 and adopt a new digital Geneva Convention that makes clear that these cyber attacks against civilians, especially in times of peace, are off-limits and a violation of international law,” said Smith.
He addressed criticism over the fact that Microsoft left Windows XP vulnerable to attackers since it had withdrawn support for the operating system.
“When there’s a broad attack, we provide patches for [all versions of Windows]. We did so with WannaCry, we did it again in June when the Ukraine was attacked,” he added.
“At the same time we repeatedly asked people, we explained to people, we virtually pleaded with people ‘please don’t rely on software that now belongs in a museum’.”
Smith underlined that hospitals need to prioritise upgrading their IT systems.
“When hospitals think about the equipment that is critical to protecting their patients they’ve got to think not only about the beds… Computers play a fundamental role in the delivery of healthcare and patients shouldn’t have to rely on healthcare based on an old computer,” he explained.
WannaCry affected over 200,000 computers in 150 countries and demanded money for users to access their files.
Marcus Hutchins, the British security researcher who helped to stop the WannaCry attack, was charged by US authorities in August with creating and distributing the Kronos banking Trojan.