Facebook Inc andMicrosoft Corp were able todisable a number of cyber threats by North Korean last week. As the US, officially blamedPyongyangfor Many cyber attacks that have crippled many of the hospitals, banks and other companies, a white house official “Tom Bossert” gave the following statement:
“Facebook took down accounts that stopped the operational execution of ongoing cyber attacks andMicrosoftacted to patch existing attacks, not just the WannaCry attack initially,”
However, Bossert did not disclose any of the details on the actions being taken by the two American tech heavyweights but claimed that the U.S. government was seeking the other companies for cooperation in cybersecurity defense.
During the White House news conference, Bossert blamed Pyongyang for the WannaCry attack that has impacted many of the computers in more than 150 countries. He also added that the U.S. government had clear evidence about North Korea being responsible. However, he did not share that evidence.
A spokesman from Facebook also confirmed that many of the counts that were being associated with a North Korea-linked hacking entity known as Lazarus Group have been deleted to make it harder for them to conduct their activities. Most of the accounts were personal profiles being operated by the fake accounts that were used to build relationships with potential targets.
Microsoft also disrupted malware that the Lazarus Group relied upon, cleaned customers’ infected computers and disabled accounts being used to pursue cyber attacks.
“The WannaCry attack was meant to cause havoc and destruction,”
“We don’t have a lot of room left here to apply pressure to change their behavior,”
“It’s nevertheless important to call them out, to let them know that it’s them and we know it’s them.”
Britain along with several private security researchers concluded being North Korea responsible for the attack. Bossert added that other countries including Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada also agreed with the US conclusion.
However, the representatives from the North Korean government could not be reached for comment. And Pyongyang has denied responsibility for WannaCry.
Worries are mounting in Washington about North Korea’s hacking capabilities and its weapons programs. North Korea this month also claimed that it had successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that could place the entire U.S. mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.
‘WE GOT LUCKY’
The attack was defanged when Marcus Hutchins, a British cybersecurity researcher, was able to detect a kill switch within WannaCry’s code. However, he was being arrested in Las Vegas by U.S. law enforcement in August. He was charged that he had built and sold malicious code that can be used to steal the banking credentials.
Bossert refuses to comment about the Hutchins case and said that its good that the WannaCry attack was not more damaging.
He also added:
“We also had a programmer that was sophisticated who noticed a glitch in the malware, We’ll give him that. Next time we won’t get so lucky.”
WannaCry was a result of a flaw in Microsoft’s Windows software that has been discovered by the U.S. National Security Agency. It was further used by the NSA to build a hacking tool for its own use.