The UK on Friday blamed North Korea for the WannaCry cyber attack which affected the country’s hospitals in May this year.
In an interview on British radio, UK Security Minister Ben Wallace attributed the attack the DPRK with as much certainty “as possible.”
“This attack, we believe quite strongly that this came from a foreign state … North Korea was the state that we believe was involved in this worldwide attack,” Wallace told the BBC’s Today programme.
“It is widely believed in the community and across a number of countries that North Korea had taken this role.”
The WannaCry cyberattack was a ransomware attack which locked affected users out of their computers. Typically the only way to unlock the operating system is to pay the attacker using a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.
Media reports at the time indicated the malicious software spread quickly, affecting more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries in the space of 24 hours.
But the in the UK, the attack mainly compromised computers in hospitals and doctors’ offices across the country.
The UK’s security minister’s comments follow a report on the WannaCry attack from the UK’s National Audit Office (NAO) also released on Friday.
The NAO’s investigation said the cyber attack was the largest ever to affect the National Health Service (NHS), leading to the cancellation of thousands of appointments across the country.
“The WannaCry cyber attack had potentially serious implications for the NHS and its ability to provide care to patients,” the report reads.
“Thousands of appointments and operations were canceled and in five areas patients had to travel further to accident and emergency departments.”
The report adds that no hospital paid the required ransom, but that the total costs from the disruptions and cancellations were not known.
North Korea has been linked to numerous high profile cyber attacks in the past, though attribution in such cases can be difficult.
Most famously, DPRK hackers are suspected of breaching computers at Sony Pictures in the U.S. shortly before the studio was set to release a comedy depicting the assassination of Kim Jong Un.
The hack, and some ensuing threats on cinema-goers in the U.S., eventually led to the movie being pulled from theatrical release.
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Featured Image: Scrambled widely across this black board by sagesolar on 2016-01-16 15:56:30