Security minister says North Korea was behind the WannaCry attack

Ben Wallace, Security Minister, told the BBC North Korea was the ‘hostile state’ behind the global WannaCry attack from May this year.

[London, UK] It is believed North Korea was behind the WannaCry attack that affected approximately a third of the NHS, Security Minister Ben Wallace has said.

In an interview for BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Wallace said the British government believes ‘quite strongly’ that North Korea was involved in the worlwide malware attack.

However, Wallace admitted it would be ‘challenging’ to make any arrests when a ‘hostile state’ is involved, although added they are ‘as sure as possible’.

Last week, the National Audit Office released a report on the investigation into the WannaCry attack and its impact on the NHS, suggesting the incident could have been prevented if NHS organisations had not overestimated their cyber defence capabilities.

Findings indicate that more than 80 trusts and almost 600 GP surgeries were affected in the attack, with 19,000 operations estimated to have been cancelled.

Wallace said the government now has to ‘redouble’ its efforts in cybersecurity and build on the national strategy published in 2016.

The total cost of emergency measures deployed by the NHS in the wake of the attack has not been identified. BJ-HC previously reported that NHS Digital and NHS England spent £180,000 from internal budgets to deal with the cyber incident, according to Hansard records.

Amyas Morse, Head of the NAO, said: “The WannaCry cyber-attack had potentially serious implications for the NHS and its ability to provide care to patients,.

“It was a relatively unsophisticated attack and could have been prevented by the NHS following basic IT security best practice.

“There are more sophisticated cyber-threats out there than WannaCry so the Department and the NHS need to get their act together to ensure the NHS is better protected against future attacks.”

The WannaCry malware affected more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries across the globe.

Related content:

NHS and Department of Health told to ‘get their act together’ after National Audit Office WannaCry investigation

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