Symantec says 'highly likely' North Korea group behind ransomware attacks

An analysis of the recent "WannaCry" ransomware attack has uncovered "strong links" connecting its perpetrators with previous activity attributed to the so-called Lazarus Group, a cybercrime outfit accused of conducting the colossal Sony hack and other high-profile intrusions, according to Symantec, a Silicon Valley-based security company.

American cyber-security firm Symantec said in a new report that tools and infrastructure used in the devastating WannaCry ransomware attack strongly suggest that a hacking group affiliated with North Korea was behind the malware attack that infected over 300,000 computers worldwide.

According to Symantec, the ransomware had numerous hallmarks of other Lazarus attacks, including the 2014 strike on Sony Pictures and a multimillion-dollar theft from the Bangladesh Central Bank.

Researchers at Symantec found multiple instances of code reuse from earlier versions of WannaCry and Lazarus' previous attacks. "(But) we don't think that this is an operation run by a nation-state".

Duzzer, which has previously been linked to Lazarus as well. The attack used two variants of the malware known as Destover, which was used in the Sony Attacks, and one of Volgmer, used in attacks against South Korean targets.

North Korea's Deputy Ambassador to the UN Kim In Ryong, however, dismissed allegations that Pyongyang was involved in the WannaCry cyberattack or the UN hack as "ridiculous".

In the Sony hack, USA government and security companies accused North Korea.

While Lazarus Group is said to have ties to North Korea it's rather hard to pin point where the group operates from and whether it is executing the attacks on behalf of another party.

"The intelligence community will probably take away from this that there is a possibility of splinters in the Lazarus Group, or members who are filling their own pockets", said Thakur.

Analysts have been weighing in with various theories on the identity of those behind WannaCry, and some early evidence had pointed to North Korea.

Cyberattacks backed by governments "are usually impeccable, they don't make rookie mistakes", said Thakur.

Despite the ties to Lazarus, WannaCry attacks doesn't appear to be a case of a nation-state campaign, states Symantec.

Finally, WannaCry and Lazarus-linked Backdoor.Contopee contain shared code.

Other digital crumbs linking the North Korean group to WannaCry include a tool that deletes data that had been used in other Lazarus attacks.

The hacking group widely blamed for breaching Sony Pictures in 2014 was "highly likely" behind the unprecedented WannaCry ransomware attack responsible for crippling computer systems around the world this month, a leading American cybersecurity firm said Monday.

Related news:

Hot News

PM spends 'good time with Trump' in Suadi Summit
May 23, 2017 - 10:56
US president Donald Trump on Sunday acknowledged India as "victim of terrorism" during Arab-Islamic-US Summit at Riyadh . The diplomatic meet between Sharif and Trump did not take place even as the Saudi Arabia was strongly backing the idea.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top The Supreme Court's Gerrymandered Ruling
May 23, 2017 - 10:55
Leaders in the General Assembly issued a statement Monday in which they said they would continue to push for voter ID laws . Reverend William Barber, the president of the North Carolina NAACP - who is leaving that post shortly to revive Dr.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Judge denies bail for 3 men in 6-year-old's shooting death
May 23, 2017 - 10:53
McBride, Wakefield and Washington were arrested on Thursday hours after 6-year-old Kingston Frazier was shot and killed. Thursday , Kingston's body was discovered on a dead-end road in Madison County, roughly 15 miles away from the store.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Turkey Slams US Over 'Aggressive' Acts Against Bodyguards
May 23, 2017 - 10:47
For all this, it doesn't really appear that the allegedly improved U.S. -Turkey relations under Trump are bearing much fruit. The guards had been filmed hitting and kicking protesters in the area while Erdogan was watching the scene.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top South Korea's Moon warns high chance of clashes with North
May 22, 2017 - 08:26
New South Korean President Moon Jae-in met Matt Pottinger, overseeing Asian affairs at the U.S. Third, dialogue with North Korea is possible when the circumstances are right.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Capitals Overwhelm Penguins 5-2 To Force Game 7
May 22, 2017 - 08:14
If the Capitals get that and it translates to a win, it earns them a winner-take-call Game 7 back in Washington on Wednesday. In the five games prior, Pittsburgh displayed a vexing habit of clogging up the space in front of the net and blocking shots.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Braves acquire Matt Adams from Cardinals
May 22, 2017 - 07:59
But I can't thank the Cardinals enough for the opportunities they gave me and the trust they had in me. The Atlanta Braves have found a short-term replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman at first base.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Wenger's future at Arsenal will be decided after FA Cup final
May 21, 2017 - 07:34
Arsenal last failed to be part of European football's premier competition in the 1996/97 season and go into the final game sitting outside the top four places.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top NASCAR's Regan Smith replaces injured Almirola in Charlotte
May 21, 2017 - 07:24
They didn't know if I was paralyzed. "I've learned I have a hell of a polo shirt collection at this point", Smith said Friday. Almirola was actually almost two seconds behind the initial incident between Danica Patrick and Joey Logano.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Paul George focused on legacy, improving Lakers
May 21, 2017 - 07:23
The Pacers could still offer an extension to George this summer, but he doesn't have as much financial incentive to sign one. Klay Thompson made All-NBA last year but not this year, so he would have to do it again next year to qualify.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Sweden drops rape probe against Assange
May 21, 2017 - 07:13
Her client was "shocked" and "had not changed her view that Assange raped her", the attorney said in an emailed statement to dpa. Police kept up round-the-clock guard outside the embassy until previous year , when the operation was scaled back.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Watch the moment teenage Mark Zuckerberg got accepted to Harvard
May 21, 2017 - 07:04
Zuckerberg, who left Harvard his sophomore year, will be receiving an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. In the video, we see a young Zuckerberg hanging out in his room while his dad Edward films him.

Ransomware cyber-attack a wake-up call
May 20, 2017 - 05:21
Also hit were Deutsche Bahn, the Russian Central Bank , Russian Railways, Russia's Interior Ministry, Megafon and Telefónica. WannaCry uses a vulnerability in old versions of Windows that was originally discovered and exploited by the U.S.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top It's not luck: Celtics earn top pick in National Basketball Association draft
May 20, 2017 - 05:09
It sounds like the organization is split on what to do leading up to the 2017 NBA Draft on June 22 . Charlotte is No. 11, with Detroit, Denver and Miami rounding out the 14 lottery spots.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Man United held by Southampton in 0-0 stalemate
May 20, 2017 - 04:58
There will be some changes to the team but my team want to play at Old Trafford, they don't want me to leave them out. Southampton struggled to relieve the pressure building on manager Claude Puel against an under-strength United.