By Agence France-Presse
Was North Korea behind the ransomware epidemic that hit global computer networks earlier this month?
That’s the subject of heated debate in cybersecurity circles after analysts found similarities in the “WannaCry” worm to other malware attributed to North Korea, including the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures and a cyberheist of millions of dollars from the Bangladesh central bank.
The security firm Symantec this week said the shared code makes it “highly likely” that the attacks were connected to the hacker group given the code name Lazarus, which many believe is North Korean.
Israel-based cybersecurity firm Intezer last week reached a similar conclusion, finding that WannaCry had “strong links to other malware families, believed to be developed by North Korean hackers, or known to be used in attacks against South Korean organizations.”
Russian-based security firm Kaspersky Labs and others also pointed to a likely North Korean link.
While the evidence is not conclusive — hackers can often hide or “spoof” their real identities — North Korea is emerging as one of the likely suspects despite a strong denial by the Pyongyang envoy to the United Nations, some analysts say.
Symantec researchers said that despite the likely North Korea link, the WannaCry attacks “do not bear the hallmarks of a nation-state campaign but are more typical of a cybercrime campaign.”
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