March 20, 2019 12:21
The U.S. has issued a warning against North Korean cyber crimes and promised a firm response.
"In the past two years we witness North Korea's 'Wanna Cry' ransomware spread to more than 150 countries, holding healthcare systems hostage and bringing factories to a halt," U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen told a security forum at George Washington University on Monday.
Ransomware is a hacking scheme designed to extort money from victims after malware is planted in their computer system and encrypts key files to make them inaccessible. But even if gullible victims pay up, typically in Bitcoin, their computers are never unlocked again.
The Wanna Cry ransomware caused an estimated US$570 million worth of damage throughout the world, paralyzing the healthcare system in the U.K. and destroying the computer systems of French automaker Renault and the Russian Interior Ministry starting in May 2017.
The attack contaminated about 300,000 computers in 150 countries.
"On top of my list of threats that many of you can guess the word cyber is circled, highlighted and underlined," Nielsen said. "And no matter what malware you develop, I promise you, the engines of our democracy are far stronger and far more resilient than any code you can write."
"Let me just send one last message to our cyber adversaries," she added. "You cannot hide behind your keyboards and computer screens, we are watching you."
North Korean hacking groups like Lazarus and APT38 have also caused damage to financial institutions, NGOs and businesses around the world.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com