The U.S. is acknowledging that North Korea was responsible for the WannaCry cyber attacks that occurred earlier this year and affected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries.
The announcement was first published in an op-ed published Monday evening by President Trump’s homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, in the Wall Street Journal.
“We do not make this allegation lightly. It is based on evidence,” Bossert wrote. “We are not alone with our findings, either. Other governments and private companies agree. The United Kingdom attributes the attack to North Korea, and Microsoft traced the attack to cyber affiliates of the North Korean government.”
The Trump administration is expected to urge “all responsible states” to take action against Pyongyang’s ability to organize dangerous cyber attacks and to apply all “relevant” United Nations Security Council sanctions, the Washington Post reported Monday.
Although other states including Great Britain have come forward and acknowledged Pyongyang was behind the virus, the U.S. has not publicly admitted so. The virus included ransomware, which prohibited the victims from accessing their computer. A ransom was demanded to grant users access again.
The cyber attack, which occurred in May, impacted a variety of sectors such as healthcare, which Bossert alleges “put lives at risk."
“Stopping malicious behavior like this starts with accountability,” Bossert wrote. “It also requires governments and businesses to cooperate to mitigate cyber risk and increase the cost to hackers. The U.S. must lead this effort, rallying allies and responsible tech companies throughout the free world to increase the security and resilience of the internet.”
He added, "As we make the internet safer, we will continue to hold accountable those who harm or threaten us, whether they act alone or on behalf of criminal organizations or hostile nations. Malicious hackers belong in prison, and totalitarian governments should pay a price for their actions. The rest of us must redouble our efforts to improve our collective defenses. The tool kits of totalitarian regimes are too threatening to ignore."
A follow up statement from the Trump administration will be issued Tuesday morning.