By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – North Korea’s deputy United Nations envoy said on Friday “it is ridiculous” to link Pyongyang with the WannaCry “ransomware” cyber attack that started to sweep around the globe a week ago or the hacking of a U.N. expert monitoring sanctions violations.
WannaCry has infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 nations. It threatens to lock out victims who have not paid a ransom within one week of infection. French researchers said on Friday they had found a last-chance way to save encrypted files.
“Relating to the cyber attack, linking to the DPRK, it is ridiculous,” North Korea’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Kim In Ryong told a news conference when asked if Pyongyang was involved in the global WannaCry attack or the U.N. hack.
North Korea is also known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
“Whenever something strange happens, it is the stereotype way of the United States and the hostile forces that kick off noisy anti-DPRK campaign deliberately linking with DPRK,” Kim said.
Symantec <SYMC.O> and Kaspersky Lab said on Monday that some code in an earlier version of the WannaCry software had also appeared in programs used by the Lazarus Group, which researchers from many companies have identified as a North Korea-run hacking operation.
A spokesman for the Italian mission to the United Nations, which chairs the U.N. Security Council North Korea sanctions committee, said on Friday that a member of the U.N. panel of experts who monitor sanctions violations had been hacked.
No further details on the extent of the hack or who might be responsible were immediately available.
The U.N. Security Council first imposed sanctions on North Korea in 2006 and has strengthened the measures in response to the country’s five nuclear tests and two long-range rocket launches. Pyongyang is threatening a sixth nuclear test.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Grant McCool)