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North Korea carried out the WannaCry ransomware attack, say security services

North Korea Carried Out The WannaCry Ransomware Attack, Say Security Services

WannaCry infected over 300,000 computers around the world.

Image: Cisco Talos

British security services believe that last month’s global WannaCry ransomware attack[1] was launched by hackers in North Korea, sources familiar with the matter have said. The WannaCry ransomware outbreak – powered by a leaked-NSA exploit[2] – took down Windows computers around the world, infecting over 300,000 PCs and crippling systems across the Americas, Europe, Russia and China. The UK’s National Health Service was particularly badly hit by the attack[3], with hospitals and doctor’s surgeries knocked offline, and some services not restored until days after the initial outbreak[4].

Now an investigation led by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – GCHQ’s cybersecurity arm – has pointed to North Korean hacking operation the Lazarus Group as the source of the attack, according to the BBC. Cybersecurity firms have previously suggested the WannaCry attack could have been mounted from North Korea[5]. An NCSC spokesperson told ZDNet that the organisation could neither confirm nor deny the reports. The Lazarus Group is linked to a number of high-profile cyberattacks in recent years, including including the $80m Bangladeshi cyber bank heist[6] and 2014’s Sony Pictures hack[7], which supposedly a response to a comedy film about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The role of the North Korean leadership in the WannaCry outbreak isn’t known, but security services have suggested that those behind the attack may not have expected the ransomware to spread so quickly. Mistakes in the code[8] point to the possibility that the authors didn’t know what they were getting themselves in to.

See also: How to defend yourself against the WannaCrypt global ransomware attack[9]| Ransomware: An executive guide to one of the biggest menaces on the web[10]

If the attack were an attempt to generate income for Pyongyang it hasn’t been particularly successful, the ransomware hasn’t been lucrative for its creators[11]. Almost one month on from the outbreak, only $126,000 has been paid by victims[12], and the ransom money is yet to be withdrawn. The suggestion by British security services that WannaCry was launched by North Korea comes shortly after reports[13] that US intelligence officials at the NSA have also linked the cyberattack to the country. The assessment was based on an analysis of tactics, techniques and targets, which has led to “moderate confidence” that North Korean intelligence was behind the attack. The NSA also says the attack was launched using Chinese IP addresses historically harnessed by North Korea’s spy agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau.

China – which saw its government bodies for transport, industry, social security and immigration – hit by the attack, has denied any involvement in WannaCry[14].

Linguistic analysis of the ransomware note[15] says the author speaks fluent Chinese – although it isn’t necessarily their first language and it’s possible those behind the attack used Chinese in an effort to throw any investigating authorities off the scent.

READ MORE ON RANSOMWARE

References

  1. ^ last month’s global WannaCry ransomware attack (www.zdnet.com)
  2. ^ powered by a leaked-NSA exploit (www.zdnet.com)
  3. ^ particularly badly hit by the attack (www.zdnet.com)
  4. ^ and some services not restored until days after the initial outbreak (www.zdnet.com)
  5. ^ Cybersecurity firms have previously suggested the WannaCry attack could have been mounted from North Korea (www.zdnet.com)
  6. ^ $80m Bangladeshi cyber bank heist (www.zdnet.com)
  7. ^ 2014’s Sony Pictures hack (www.zdnet.com)
  8. ^ Mistakes in the code (www.zdnet.com)
  9. ^ How to defend yourself against the WannaCrypt global ransomware attack (www.zdnet.com)
  10. ^ Ransomware: An executive guide to one of the biggest menaces on the web (www.zdnet.com)
  11. ^ the ransomware hasn’t been lucrative for its creators (www.zdnet.com)
  12. ^ only $126,000 has been paid by victims (twitter.com)
  13. ^ shortly after reports (www.washingtonpost.com)
  14. ^ has denied any involvement in WannaCry (www.zdnet.com)
  15. ^ Linguistic analysis of the ransomware note (www.zdnet.com)

NBA Finals: Kevin Durant’s decision to leave Oklahoma vindicated by championship and MVP award

Kevin Durant hugged everyone in sight. LeBron James, Stephen Curry, a security guard, his mother, coach Steve Kerr, a random fan, Warriors owners Joe Lacob, it didn t matter. Everyone was encompassed at least once by Durant s 7 5 wingspan. It was clear how much this meant to him. After all the flak he had faced for trying to win a championship by joining the most talented team in the league, he stood vindicated. Nothing less than a championship was acceptable. And a championship he had delivered. Make no mistake, the 2017 NBA Finals is a Kevin Durant story.

NBA Finals: Kevin Durant's Decision To Leave Oklahoma Vindicated By Championship And MVP Award

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant gestures as he holds the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award. AP Photo

He has been on this grand stage before. In the 2012 Finals, Durant s Oklahoma City Thunder played James Miami Heat. Durant lead all scorers in the series with 30.6 points per game but that wasn t enough to defeat the superstars in the other team, namely Messrs James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Durant stuck around for a bit, picking up an MVP award, a scoring championship and making the All-Star team every year. Then last year, the Golden State Warriors defeated the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals after going down 1-3. Durant had had enough. The Thunder weren t winning the NBA Finals anytime soon and his prime playing days wouldn t last forever. He joined the men who had vanquished the Thunder to form one of the most offensively powerful units the NBA has seen in recent times.

It took a little while but the Warriors finally started clicking. Curry got used to not being the top guy on the scoring charts every night and instead strengthened other aspects of his game, especially his defence. Draymond Green took his game up another notch and will surely be crowned Defensive Player of the Year. Klay Thompson stayed Klay which meant he made 3.4 three pointers a night in addition to performances like this[1]. By the time the playoffs rolled around, the Warriors juggernaut was well and truly underway. And what a juggernaut it has been. They steamrolled the Portland Trail Blazers, the Utah Jazz and the San Antonio Spurs on their way to the Finals. They lost exactly zero games and picked up the Western Conference Championship with a perfect 12-0 record. Then came the NBA Finals. And who else but the man who last denied Durant the championship stood in his path. Like Durant, James was on a different team but he was every bit the dominant player that he has been this decade. And he was backed up by the best one-on-one practitioner in the league in Kyrie Irving and double-double machine Kevin Love.

The Warriors raced out of the gate in Game 1. Durant and Curry basically took this one all on their own. Durant ended up with 38 points as the Cavaliers allowed him to run untouched to the basket multiple times. It was clear that the Cavaliers were just not ready for the Durant-Curry offence. The defence wasn t set and the offence was stuttering (other than James of course who ended the night with a respectable 28 points). Game 2 saw more of the same. Except, Klay also woke up as he made four three-pointers en route to 22 points. Durant dropped 33 while Curry recorded a triple-double. James responded with a triple-double of his own but when the Warriors offence is clicking like it was, they are absolutely unbeatable. The series looked like it might be done in four games. In Game 3, the Cavaliers showed why they were the Eastern Conference champions as they got in the Warriors faces. The game was much more physical than the first two and the Warriors found it extremely hard to get their shots off. Irving went supernova as he made scoop layup after scoop layup. The Cavaliers led by five as the game went into the fourth quarter.

But then the Warriors responded. They did not let the Cavaliers score in the final two minutes while toting up 11 points for themselves. Durant made one of the shots of the Finals as he drained a 26-footer[2] which effectively sealed the game. It wasn t pretty but the Warriors got the job done. The Cavaliers, however, had gathered belief in Game 3 and the first quarter of Game 4 was the most potent offensive performance ever seen in the NBA Finals. They were not letting the Warriors celebrate the championship in Cleveland, no sir. James recorded another triple-double while Irving dropped 40 points shooting 55.6 percent from the field. The crowd chanted Cavs in 7 and a sudden fear erupted in Warrior ears. 0-3 had not been overcome before, but 1-3 had. As Game 5 rolled around, Oakland was ready. Durant was locked in. He was taking this championship, the Cavaliers be damned. He scored 39 points shooting 70 percent from the field. Curry added 34 and Andre Iguodala (playing the most minutes he has this series) chipped in with 20. Apparently, the only way to beat this Warriors team is for your entire team to go supernova. The Cavaliers could not replicate their offensive masterclass of Game 4 and succumbed by nine points. The margin would have been much wider but for JR Smith making seven out of his eight three-point attempts.

The loss in the 2016 Finals had left the entire Warriors organisation reeling. They had felt the need to do something. Only that something turned out to be recruiting the best pure scorer in the NBA. Durant had been brought in with a purpose. As they lifted the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, they would certainly have felt that the purpose is now fulfilled.

Supervillains they might be[3], but at least they are supervillains with a Ring.

All statistics courtesy Basketball Reference.[4]

Published Date: Jun 14, 2017 04:40 pm | Updated Date: Jun 14, 2017 05:03 pm

References

  1. ^ this (youtu.be)
  2. ^ drained a 26-footer (twitter.com)
  3. ^ Supervillains they might be (www.complex.com)
  4. ^ Basketball Reference (www.basketball-reference.com)

US: School security guard removes Muslim girl’s hijab, handcuffs her after being called ‘terrorist’ by fellow student

A 15-year-old Muslim girl in the US accused the school security of removing her hijab and handcuffing her after she had an altercation with a fellow student who called her a “terrorist”. The security guard at the Apple Valley High School, Minnesota, has been placed on administrative leave after responding to a fight involving the Muslim student, who accused school security of using excessive force, the Star Tribune reported. A spokesperson for the Apple Valley area school district said the security guard was on leave pending the completion of an investigation into the fight last Thursday after the 15-year-old sophomore was arrested and removed from the school. The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the student reported that she had been verbally harassed and called a “(expletive) terrorist” by a male student. The group said an altercation between the students ensued and the security guard intervened, along with the school resource officer, a police officer assigned to the school.

“The security guard focused completely on her. He proceeded to grab her,” Jaylani Hussein, Executive Director of the Minnesota chapter of CAIR, said. The school resource officer called for backup and about three Apple Valley police officers responded. The girl was taken to the Apple Valley Police Department and questioned and later released. She later alleged that the school resource officer pulled off her hijab after putting handcuffs on her.

“I’m scared for my safety at Apple Valley High School. I feel very threatened,” the girl was quoted as saying. The Apple Valley Police Department said it is investigating the fight and so far there is no indication that any racist language was used during the conflict. The student was initially suspended following the fight, but later she was allowed to return to the school. The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR-MN, want the security officer and the police officer investigated for allegedly using excessive force against the female Muslim student. The organisation said that it has received a dozen complaints from Muslim students at the school who feel unsafe due to the incident and others like it involving the same officer.

“We are concerned about the apparent use of excessive force in this incident and about the suspension of the Muslim student, who appears to have been a victim of bullying,” Hussein was quoted as saying by the Pioneer Press. “We are also concerned about the growing number of Muslim students who report feeling unsafe because of how this incident was handled by the school officers,” he said.

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