NHS cyber attack 'could have links to North Korea', security experts say

The global cyber attack which targeted NHS computer systems in London and across the country is being investigated for possible links with North Korea.

Security experts are comparing the computer code behind Friday’s hack with past cyber attacks thought to be carried out by the country.

More than 300,000 computers in 150 countries were hit with the WannaCry ransomware virus as it swept across the world, including 47 NHS trusts in England and 13 Scottish health boards with outdated security.

Marcus Hutchins, a young British computer expert, was hailed a hero after he hit a so-called "kill switch" that slowed the effects of the WannaCry.

IT exerts are probing similarities between the WannaCry computer code and malware from Lazarus, a hacking group behind cyber attacks on Sony Pictures in 2014 which was blamed on North Korea.

It comes after UK security agencies launched an international manhunt to find those responsible for the crippling attack.

The potential link was highlighted on Monday by a researcher from Google who posted a message on Twitter showing a sample of the WannaCry malware that appeared online in February.

Researchers from global cyber security company Kaspersky Lab, whose European headquarters is in London, identified clear code similarities between the WannaCry virus and attacks by Lazarus in 2015.

​Kaspersky Lab said: "The similarity of course could be a false flag operation.

"However, the analysis of the February sample and comparison to WannaCry samples used in recent attacks shows that the code which points at the Lazarus group was removed from the WannaCry malware used in the attacks started last Friday.

"This can be an attempt to cover traces conducted by orchestrators of the WannaCry campaign.

"Although this similarity alone doesn't allow proof of a strong connection between the WannaCry ransomware and the Lazarus Group, it can potentially lead to new ones which would shed light on the WannaCry origin which to the moment remains a mystery."

( Source )

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