The United States officially accused North Korea late on Monday of carrying out the massive WannaCry attack that infected some 300,000 computers in 150 countries earlier this year.
North Korea was widely suspected of being behind the computer virus and ransomware, which demanded payment to restore access. It has been denounced as such by Britain, but the United States had yet to follow suit.
“The attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea is directly responsible,” Tom Bossert, homeland security adviser to President Donald Trump, wrote in a piece published on Monday night in the Wall Street Journal.
“North Korea has acted especially badly, largely unchecked, for more than a decade, and its malicious behavior is growing more egregious,” Bossert wrote. “WannaCry was indiscriminately reckless.”
The White House was expected to follow up on Tuesday with a more formal statement blaming Pyongyang, according to a senior administration official.The WannaCry attack spread rapidly around the globe using a security flaw in Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system, an older version that is no longer given mainstream tech support by the US giant.