White House homeland security advisor Tom Bossert says that Microsoft and Facebook helped to deter recent cyber attacks by North Korea. According to a Reuters report, Bossert confirmed Microsoft acted "to disable a number of North Korean cyber actions" last week, but no details were provided.
This comes just as the U.S. government publicly attributed May's WannaCry attack to North Korea for the first time. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Bossert says that the government's findings largely line up with those of Microsoft and others. Bossert also calls on businesses and governments to cooperate to stop attacks like WannaCry:
Sophisticated cyber attacks, and ransomware, in particular, have come into sharp focus this year due to a number of widespread attacks. WannaCry was the first to gain attention, but further attacks, ranging from Petya to Bad Rabbit, stoked unease as well.
Though Bossert has called for cooperation in stopping these attacks, Microsoft has been critical of governments for stockpiling software vulnerabilities. The exploit that WannaCry took advantage of, for example, is largely believed to have originated with the National Security Agency (NSA).
Updated December 19, 2017: Microsoft has now commented on the matter, clarifying that it independently chose to take action last week to counteract a group called ZINC, otherwise known as Lazarus Group. From Microsoft:
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.