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

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Cyber Attacks, VOA

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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Tech Giant Google Letting Android Users Create Events on Maps

Google's plans for a wider roll-out of the feature remain unknown

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The Google logo is seen at a start-up campus in Paris, France, Feb. 15, 2018. VOA

Google is letting Android users create public events on Maps through the app’s existing Contribute section, allowing them to set name, location, date and time of the event along with tags and images.

“You can add public events to Google Maps from your Android phone or tablet,” the search-engine giant wrote on the Maps support page.

Event listings would help users streamline time-specific activities and choose what suits them best.

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A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company’s offices in Toronto. VOA

“It’s all part of the app’s transformation from a service that tells you how to get somewhere into one that tells you where you might want to go in the first place,” The Verge reported on Monday.

Google’s plans for a wider roll-out of the feature remain unknown.

Also Read- Microsoft Asks Social Media Platforms to Act Fast on Terror

“Google Maps’ implementation is a little laggy at the moment, with events taking up to an hour to actually appear on a map. Hopefully, this improves as the functionality is more widely rolled out,” the report said. (IANS)