Britain accuses North Korea of having a hand in May 2017 WannaCry Malware attacks
Oct 27, 2017 Technology 3682 By Abdulkerimu Oare
- Britain accuses North Korea of having a hand in May 2017 WannaCry Malware attacks.
- Attacks could have been prevented by simply updating operating system versions in most cases.
- There will be no counterattack to avoid exposing UK citizens to more vulnerabilities.
The British government has publicly disclosed that North Korea was behind the May 2017 WannaCry Malware
attacks that affected over 300,000 computers in at least 150 countries.
Speaking on the BBC's Today programme, Britain's security minister Ben Wallace said the government now believes a North Korean hacking group was responsible, but stopped short of suggesting the UK could carry out retaliatory attacks.
"This attack, we believe quite strongly that this came from a foreign state," Mr Wallace said. Adding that the state involved was "North Korea", he said: "We can be as sure as possible. I obviously can’t go into the detail of intelligence, but it is widely believed in the community and across a number of countries that North Korea had taken this role."
Asked what the UK could do in response to the attack, the minister admitted that it would be "challenging" to arrest anyone when a "hostile state" was involved.
He called on the West to instead develop a "doctrine of deterrent" similar to that used to prevent the use of nuclear weapons. "We do have a counter attack capability," he said. "But let's remember we are an open liberal democracy with a large reliance on IT systems. We will obviously have a different risk appetite. If you get into tit for tat there has to be serious consideration of the risk we would expose UK citizens to."
Meanwhile, it has long been discovered that the vast majority of the WannaCry ransomware attacks could have been prevented if IT departments had taken the most basic cyber security measure of keeping operating systems updated.
"It's a salient lesson for us all that all of us, from individuals to governments to large organisations, have a role to play in maintaining the security of our networks," he said.
More than 300,000 computers in 150 countries were infected with the Wanna-cry Ransomware.