North Korea on Tuesday rejected a recent offer by the United States for talks without preconditions, calling it a ploy to make Pyongyang give up its nuclear programme.
"North Korea has acted especially badly, largely unchecked, for more than a decade, and its malicious behavior is growing more egregious".
However, the White House also pointed out in a statement that dialogue was not possible unless North Korea changed its position on its weapons program. "We are not alone with our findings, either". "The tool kits of totalitarian regimes are too threatening to ignore". He said Washington must lead efforts to cooperate with other governments and businesses to "mitigate cyber risk and increase the cost to hackers", and thus improve internet security and resilience. He implored private companies to build up their defenses against North Korea and other "bad actors" in cyberspace, and singled out Microsoft in particular for taking actions last week to "disrupt activities of North Korean hackers", without elaborating on the details.
Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Looking ahead, Bessert writes that the USA will take steps to curtail North Korea's "ability to mount attacks, cyber or otherwise".
WannaCry was a massive cyber attack that infected vulnerable Windows machines with ransomware, locking out users from their computers. An earlier version of the WannaCry ransomware shared coding similarities with past hacks from the Lazarus Group, a shadowy hacking collective many believe work for the North Korean government.
In recent years, the objective of North Korean cyber crime has shifted from intelligence gathering and stealing strategic information to stealing funds from foreign financial institutions, reports Reuters, reflecting a new reality for the dictatorship as it fights to get out from under a smothering blanket of sanctions.
News reports quoted a senior Trump administration official as saying that the U.S. had come to the conclusion, "with a very high level of confidence" that the Lazarus Group, a hacking organisation that works on behalf of Pyongyang, was behind the WannaCry attack.