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The United States officially accused North Korea of carrying out the massive WannaCry attack that infected some 300,000 computers in 150 countries earlier this year.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

North Korea on Tuesday rejected a recent offer by the USA for talks without preconditions, calling it a ploy to make Pyongyang give up its nuclear programme.

With North Korean artillery poised just a few miles outside the South Korean capital and Pyongyang warning the USA base on Guam could be "enveloped in fire", military action looks dicey.

It's unclear if the Trump administration will use WannaCry as a way to put more pressure on North Korea via sanctions, as is already the situation with the country's nuclear program.

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Bossert called on governments and businesses to come together to reduce the risks of cyber attacks and for harsher punishments. The U.S. must lead this effort, rallying allies and responsible tech companies throughout the free world to increase the security and resilience of the internet. The attack forced the company to cancel the release of The Interview, a comedy about two reporters who were hired to assassinate Kim Jong-un.

"Bossert goes on to say: "[WannaCry] encrypted and rendered useless hundreds of thousands of computers. while victims received ransom demands, paying did not unlock their computers. The global shipper said in September it expected to sustain a $300 million profit hit as a result of the attack.

Bossert didn't say what specific actions the U.S. might take against North Korea, but he said it was important to call out the bad behavior. The senior administration official declined to comment about whether USA intelligence was able to discern if the attack was deliberate.

What the point of this blame will be remains uncertain, other than piling on amid rising tensions with North Korea.

"What we see is a continued pattern of North Korea misbehaving, whether destructive cyber attacks, hacking for financial gain, or targeting infrastructure around the globe", the official said. Earlier this month, North Korea said it had successfully tested a breakthrough intercontinental ballistic missile that could place the entire US mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.


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