UK Government links the WannaCry attack that crippled NHS to North Korea

Pierluigi Paganini October 27, 2017

UK Government blamed North Korea for the WannaCry attack that affected a third of English hospitals.

“This attack, we believe quite strongly that it came from a foreign state,” Ben Wallace, a junior minister for security, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“North Korea was the state that we believe was involved in this worldwide attack,” he said, adding that the government was “as sure as possible”.

The massive WannaCry attack infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries, including in Britain’s National Health Service (NHS), the US logistics company FedEx and a factory of the car vendor Honda.

WannaCry is a ransomware which encrypts all files stored in your system and demands a $300 ransomware in worth bitcoins if you want to decrypt and recover these files.

According to the Britain’s National Audit Office, computers at 81 hospital groups across England out of the total number of 236 were infected.

The WannaCry attack caused severe problems to the NHS England, it forced the cancellation of some 19,500 medical appointments and affected roughly 600 general practitioners.

WannaCry attack ransomware

The National Audit Office confirmed that most of the affected facilities were running Windows 7 OS that had not been updated.

“It was a relatively unsophisticated attack and could have been prevented by the NHS following basic IT security best practice,” NAO chief Amyas Morse said.

“There are more sophisticated cyber threats out there than WannaCry so the Department (of Health) and the NHS need to get their act together to ensure the NHS is better protected against future attacks,”.

Unfortunately, the numerous recommendations in the NHS about cybersecurity, in particular about the security updates, were ignored.

It was a terrible lesson for the NHS, according to Dan Taylor, NHS Digital’s head of security, the organization had “learned a lot” from WannaCry attack.

Taylor defined the WannaCry attack as “an international attack on an unprecedented scale”.

The good news is that according to the NAO report affected British organizations did not pay any ransom. The UK Government is still assessing the current impact of the WannaCry attack, it still “does not know how much the disruption to services cost.”

Shortly after the WannaCry attack many security experts and firms linked the ransomware to the North Korean APT Lazarus group.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – WannaCry attack, hacking)

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