North Korea No More Limited to Nuclear Attacks Only, History Proves Nation’s Involvement in Past Cyber Attacks

A massive cyber attack hit the globe on Friday, which took down several businesses thereby disturbing the lives of people around the world. A global cyber security firm has claimed that North Korea seems to have links with the cyber attack that encrypted important files and hacked them.

According to reports, ransomware “WannaCry” was used to put the online processes to halt. It infected the online stored files of the government entities along with Britain’s National Health Service and thereby hacked the confidential documents. The owners had to pay a $300 ransom to ensure the files were not leaked. The cyber attack led to the shutdown of over 300,000 computers throughout the world. The attack that caused disturbance to about 150 nations across the globe is claimed to have been implemented by North Korea.

Well, North Korea and cyber attack seem uncomplimentary terms. However, history has a different story to tell. There are historical instances that show the involvement of the nation in high-profile hacking attacks. One of the most recent examples is the February 2016 cyber attack. Almost $101 million was illegally transferred from the New York Federal Reserve’s central bank account of Bangladesh to Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab said that Lazarus, a hacking group, implemented the attack.

Later, it was also found that the hackers received support from France, Taiwan, and South Korea as these nations helped the group in routing their signal. It was then when researchers also claimed that one of the connections from North Korea was detected as well.

In 2014, Sony Pictures underwent a cyber attack. That was the time when Sony decided to release a comedy show revolving around the planning and plotting of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un’s killing. In the attack, hackers stole the movie scripts along with internal memos. The hackers also stole personal details about the employees of Sony as well as movie stars.

Once again Lazarus was hinted to be involved in the attack, which made the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation conclude that North Korea was behind the hack. Following the conclusions, the U.S. penalized the nation under a new set of economic sanctions in 2015. The nation, on the other hand, denied the claims of its involvement in the hack.

The reason behind North Korea implementing cyber attacks is reportedly the lack of financial resources. However, it has been found that when it is South Korea, the nation conducts more traditional attacks. In December 2016, South Korea claimed that its northern counterpart hacked its military intranet that led to the leak of confidential information. The government officials of the nation also said that North Korea hacked their smartphones and stole text messages as well as voice communications.

Following Friday’s global cyber attack, cyber security firm Proofpoint claimed that there is another cyber attack on its way. The researchers said that a new attack linked to WannaCry has been discovered. Researcher Nicolas Godier called the expected attack Adylkuzz.

“It uses the hacking tools recently disclosed by the NSA and which have since been fixed by Microsoft in a more stealthy manner and for a different purpose,” Godier said.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer speaks about WannaCry during the Daily Press Briefing At The White House
Press Secretary Sean Spicer speaks about WannaCry during the Daily Press Briefing At The White House [Image by Mark Wilson / Getty Images]

While the involvement of North Korea in the Friday attack is still a speculation, China has directly held the nation liable for the same.

“North Korea has been a constant threat in terms of missiles and nuclear weapons,” Renmin University’s international relations’ associate professor Cheng Xiaohe said. “All of a sudden, it poses a cyber threat.”

“This time if it’s from North Korea, the malware was targeted indiscriminately against all computers. That’s a big change. It harms and threatens China.”

China has been one of the major victims of the attack. The nation shut its computers at educational institutions, local government offices and other significant places that were expected to be worst affected.

[Featured Image by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images]