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Experts See Possible North Korea Links to Global Cyberattack

17 May 2017

"We have not yet been able to confirm the Lazarus tools deployed WannaCry on these systems", a Symantec spokesperson said in a statement to CNNTech.

"We are going to send a very strong, unified message to North Korea that the global community wants to support you, but as long as you test and as long as you continue your nuclear program, you are on an island by yourself", Haley said, speaking alongside ambassadors from Japan and South Korea.

The researchers of South Korea stated that they have found some codes in the WannaCry software which were also appeared in the program used by Lazarus group run by North Korea. "It will be very satisfying for me and for all of our viewers, I think, that if we find them that we bring them to justice".

A researcher from South Korea's Hauri Labs said on Tuesday that their own findings matched those of Kaspersky Lab.

The most disruptive attacks were reported in the United Kingdom, where hospitals and clinics were forced to turn away patients after losing access to computers.

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Several IT experts found similarities in the code used for the WannaCry attack and on some other cyber heist carried out in the previous years that were allegedly perpetrated by the Lazarus Group.

More than 300,000 computers in 150 countries have been infected with the WannaCry ransomware virus since the attack, crippling organisations from government agencies and global companies. WannaCry also includes software that was stolen from the US National Security Agency [official website] and illegally published online in April.

"I saw signs previous year that the North was preparing ransomware attacks or even already beginning to do so, targeting some South Korean companies", he said.

Security expert Prof Alan Woodward said that time stamps within the original WannaCry code are set to UTC +9 - China's time zone - and the text demanding the ransom uses what reads like machine-translated English, but a Chinese segment apparently written by a native speaker, the report said.

But the secretive regime has been linked to other major hacking cases in the past. "But it's worth looking deeper, being conscious of confirmation bias now that North Korea has been identified as a possibility", Woodward said.

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Vietnam's state media said on Tuesday more than 200 computers had been affected, but one of the country's leading anti virus companies, Bkav, later put the figure at 1,900.

Security researchers and USA intelligence officials have cautioned that such evidence is not conclusive, and the investigation is in its early stages.

A cyber-security consultancy firm also says it knows of some people who had paid but had not yet had their data decrypted.

The first wave of Wannacry attack has left countries in an uproar to secure every vulnerable exit and has woken up the security authorities to amend any loopholes to eradicate the slightest chance of cyber fire sale of financial assets in a country. The CGV movie chain, South Korea's largest, said that about 50 of its theater complexes were attacked by the ransomware but that films were still running as scheduled. Kaspersky said "further research can be crucial to connecting the dots".

Cisco Systems closed up 2.3 per cent on Monday and was the second-biggest gainer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

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In Hong Kong, Gazeley said his team had found a new version of the worm that didn't use e-mail to lure victims. The agency told hospitals to disconnect all infected computers, apply a Microsoft patch that closes the vulnerability, then "roll back" the infected computers and restore them from backed-up files.

Experts See Possible North Korea Links to Global Cyberattack