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Indian-origin Google Researcher Neel Mehta links ransomware Attack to North Korea

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London/Washington, May 16, 2017: As the world struggles to identify cybercriminals behind the global ransowmware attack that hit 150 countries, an Indian-origin security researcher working with Google has claimed that the hackers may have links to North Korea.

According to Neel Mehta’s discovery, the “Lazarus Group” that works on behalf of North Koreans may be behind the attack as the hacking group has, in the past, used the same coding and tools as were used in “WannaCrypt” — the software used in the current hacking into the Microsoft operating software, the BBC reported on Tuesday.

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“Neel Mehta’s discovery is the most significant clue to date regarding the origins of WannaCrypt,” the report quoted Moscow-based cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab as saying.

“Lazarus Group”, that according to Mehta is based in China, was responsible for a major hack on Sony Pictures in 2014 and another on a Bangladeshi bank in 2016.

Kaspersky Lab, however, noted that a lot more information was needed about earlier versions of “WannaCrypt” before any firm conclusion could be reached.

“We believe it’s important that other researchers around the world investigate these similarities and attempt to discover more facts about the origin of ‘WannaCrypt’,” the cyber security company added.

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Though North Korea has never admitted any involvement in the Sony Pictures hack, security researchers and the US government are confident in the theory and neither can rule out the possibility of a false flag.

There are possibilities that skilled hackers might have simply made the hack look like it had origins in North Korea by using similar techniques.

Kaspersky noted that false flags within “WannaCrypt” were “possible” but “improbable”, as the shared code was removed from later versions.

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There is another possibility that “Lazarus Group” may be working independently and without the instructions from North Korea, the report added.

Meanwhile, the White House said on Monday that less than $70,000 has been paid in the ransomware attack globally.

“We are not aware of payments that have led to any data recovery,” White House Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert said at a daily briefing.

Specially, no US federal systems are affected, he said. (IANS)

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Pay Utility Bills With Google ‘Tez’

After users have linked their account, for most utility bills Tez would automatically fetch any available bills

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Google india launches 'Tz' to help people pay their utility bills. Wikimedia Commons
Google india launches 'Tez' to help people pay their utility bills. Wikimedia Commons
  • Now people can pay their bills via Google
  • Google India has launched new app ‘Tez’
  • Through this app, now people can pay utility bills online

Google India on Monday announced that people can now pay water, electricity, DTH and mobile bills with its “Tez” digital payment app without any transaction charges.

Now pay utility bills with google's Tez. Wikimedia Commons
Now, pay utility bills with google’s Tez. Wikimedia Commons

Built on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), the “Tez” app will bring bill payments for over 80 billers for private and public utility service providers across the country.

“We are adding a specially-designed bill pay experience in ‘Tez’ which will enable users to make a wide range of bill payments, including electricity, water, gas, DTH and insurance from the app,” said Diana Layfield, Vice President, Payments and Commerce, Next Billion Users at Google.

The new bill pay feature would include major utilities like Reliance Energy, BSES and Dish TV and would cover all states and major metros.

Also Read: Google discloses security flaw in Microsoft Edge

Built to support “Bharat BillPay” system, “Tez” would send users a notification when their bill arrives and users would be able to check whether they have paid a bill by simply tapping the biller’s name on their “Tez” home screen.

Users would also be able to view all past payments grouped by bill, as well as manage bills from multiple accounts.

Customers can now pay bills using that app. Pixabay
Customers can now pay bills using that app. Pixabay

Once users have located their biller, they need to enter the number associated with their account to link it to the app and give it an easy name to remember.

After users have linked their account, for most utility bills, the app would automatically fetch any available bills. Users need to just tap on “New Payment” and then “Pay your bills”. IANS