Anna Sheffer
December 19, 2017 8:11 am
@CBSNews / twitter.com

While the internet has revolutionized the world around us, it has also added new risks to our national (and personal) security. One of those risks is international hackers. On December 18th, the Trump administration alleged that North Korea carried out the massive WannaCry cyberattack, which targeted banks, hospitals, and businesses earlier this year.

One of Trump’s Homeland Security advisers, Thomas Bossert, made the accusation in The Wall Street Journal. Bossert said the claim was based on evidence, although he did not cite the evidence in the article. He later reiterated the accusation in a December 19th press conference.

Bossert wrote that Russian hackers and one Chinese hacker had also been indicted in the case.

The U.K. has condemned North Korea for the attack as well. In October, the U.K.’s Minister of State for Security, Ben Wallace, said the government was “as sure as possible” that the country was behind WannaCry. And shortly after the attack in May, The New York Times wrote that North Korea was the most likely culprit.

WannaCry targeted more than 300,000 computers around the world. Victims of the May attack were locked out of their computers and asked to pay a ransom to free their computer of the malware. The ransom fee, if paid, didn’t actually restore data.

Computers at the U.K.’s National Health Service were hit hard by the attack, causing medical treatment to grind to a halt as the computer systems were frozen. The malware used in the attack was a cyberweapon that had been stolen from the NSA.

British hacker Marcus Hutchins managed to stop WannaCry in its tracks by finding a “kill switch” in the virus’s code and triggering it.

Cyberattacks and the rise of cyber crime are terrifying  — especially when you consider that another country could be behind them. Luckily, with things like malware-detection software and two-step verification processes, there are ways to keep your data secure. We hope that the government will continue to investigate WannaCry, and that those responsible are indicted.

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