North Korea behind WannaCry attack which crippled the NHS after stealing US cyber weapons, Microsoft chief claims carderplanetsu, iprofitsu
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North Korea was behind the WannaCry attack which crippled the NHS after stealing US cyber weapons,the head of Microsoft has claimed.
The cyber attack in May was the largest in the NHS’s history and put lives under threat as hundreds of operations were cancelled.
Now the President of Microsoft has told ITV News that the government of North Korea was responsible for the attack.
Brad Smith said he believed “with great confidence” that Pyongyang was behind the hack which impacted 200,000 computers in 150 countries around the world.
“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,” he said.
North Korea has been widely linked with the WannaCry cyber-attack but this is the first time that an executive at Microsoft has blamed the administration publicly.
Mr Smith says cyber-attacks by nation-states have become more frequent and more severe: “I think over last six months we’ve seen threats come to life, unfortunately, in new and more serious way. The problem has become bigger”
He believes that as societies becomes more reliant on technology so the risk increases that vital public services and elections will be targeted by state-sponsored hacks and has called on governments to do more to protect their citizens 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,” he added.
Shortly after the WannaCry attack Microsoft itself faced criticism.
Many of the NHS hospitals affected by the malware virus were using XP – an older version of Windows – which Microsoft had decided to stop supporting.
Microsoft XP is 17 years old but one in 20 of the NHS’s thousands of computers – five per cent of the total – are still fitted with the programme.
The attack meant vital equipment, such as MRI scanners and X-ray machines, had to be taken offline as they could not be repaired immediately.
Mr Smith acknowledged that hospital budgets are tight but insists greater priority needs to be given to upgrading 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.”
Microsoft has developed anti-viral software to protect users from hacks, the company also attempts to spot and disrupt cyber-attacks from its Digital Crimes Unit.