British security officials suspected that North Korea was behind the WannaCry attacks, linking them to a group called Lazarus that was also behind the 2014 cyberattacks on Sony Pictures, the BBC reported in June. The malware infected over 300,000 computers in 150 different countries.
Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert made the announcement in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, and was expected to provide more details in a briefing with reporters.
The offer of dialogue without strings attached appeared to offer a way through an impasse that has lasted for years, during which North Korea's rogue development of nukes has allowed it to threaten the US mainland with greater credibility than ever before.
Bossert named one Russian-based tech company by name when alluding to alleged meddling by Russia against the U.S., and wrote that in 2017, "the Trump administration ordered the removal of all Kaspersky software from government systems".
"After careful investigation, the USA today publicly attributes the massive "WannaCry" cyberattack to North Korea", Bessert writes.
"As we make the internet safer, we will continue to hold accountable those who harm or threaten us, whether they act alone or on behalf of criminal organizations or hostile nations". Now, seven months later, we finally know who was behind the widespread ransomware campaign: North Korea. "When we must, the USA will act alone to impose costs and consequences for cyber malfeasance", Bossert added.
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"North Korea has acted especially badly, largely unchecked, for more than a decade, and its malicious behavior is growing more egregious".
"WannaCry was indiscriminately reckless", he wrote.
"Other governments and private companies agree", he wrote. "The United Kingdom attributes the attack to North Korea, and Microsoft traced the attack to cyber affiliates of the North Korean government".
A senior administration official told the Reuters news agency that the White House would issue a formal statement of blame on Tuesday.
Within days of the attack in May, North Korea fell under suspicion.
"The US is trying to shift responsibility for tensions on the Korean Peninsula to us with its dialogue offensive", the North Korean daily Rodong Sinmun said in a report.