US and UK governments say North Korea was responsible for the global WannaCry malware attack.

While multiple sources have long called the attack the work of state-sponsored North Korean operatives, the US and UK–reportedly along with several other countries–are now formally declaring that responsibility for the attack rests on North Korea’s shoulders. Why does it matter if the statement is alleged or declared? Because economic sanctions and any further punitive action depend on it.

WannaCry ransomware spent the better part of 2017 making headlines for the damage it caused. This attack infected hundreds of thousands of computers and was found to have taken root in most countries around the world, causing billions of dollars in damage. One of the biggest-name targets was the UK’s national health system, as WannaCry infected the NHS network and effectively derailed patient care for a short time.

The US and UK governments have said North Korea was responsible for the WannaCry malware attack affecting hospitals, businesses and banks across the world earlier this year.

Cyber-attack: US and UK blame North Korea for WannaCry

Where’s the evidence?

The US has not shared the evidence it claims to have the points the finger at North Korea, although its government officials claim to have indisputable proof. The next steps aren’t even as clear as the proof, though. According to a report for BBC, “This latest claim is almost certainly an attempt to put more pressure on North Korea in the crisis over its nuclear programme with the attempt to rally international support behind the notion that the country is a real danger – whether from cyber weapons or nuclear weapons. And to make the case that further action, of some kind, needs to be contemplated.”

Level-headed response

US president Donald Trump has made his disdain for North Korea and its leadership very clear, and this declaration seems to bring other governments in-line with his views on the country. More objective perspectives on the dangers of North Korean cyber activity, though, could either help or hinder any relations with Pyongyang and attempts to diffuse the tensions. A level-headed, evidence-based response can only help the situation as it stands.

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