Mi­crosoft says North Korea was be­hind Wan­naCry ran­somware at­tack

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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.

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