The United States government has credited Microsoft and Facebook with crippling several North Korean cyber actions. White House homeland adviser Tom Bossert announced Tuesday the two tech giants disabled North Korea based attacks last week.
During the announcement, the Trump administration also accused Pyongyang directly for a May cyber attack. That hack resulted in banks, hospitals, and other organizations going down. Bossert offered no details on how the Korean government actors planned to attack or how Microsoft and Facebook shut it down.
However, he did call on more companies to be more proactive in stopping state-sponsored cybercrime.
Over the last year, sensitivity towards cyber attacks has increased in the US. The political system has been rocked by clear allegations that the Russian government interfered in last year’s Presidential Elections. Donald Trump is accused of being involved with the Russians.
In March, an Associated Press investigation uncovered how the Russians hacks the Hilary Clinton campaign. Since then, the US government has been attempting to shore up its cyber defenses. This has involved openly accusing anti-virus giant Kaspersky Lab of working with the Russian government to hack US systems.
The Russian company admitted holding NSA classified information, but did not steal it or pass it to the Russian government.
Kaspersky carried out its own investigation and published a report. The company claimed a poorly secured remote PC sent NSA files to its servers over a two month period in 2014 (September 11 to November 9). The machine was located in the United States. Received files included source code, documents, and executable binaries.
All the files were denoted classified and were downloaded many times by the company’s AV software. The system flagged the content as malicious and coming from the Equation Group, a NSA-linked hacking group.
The AV downloading the content is standard. With the classified files, a Kaspersky employee reviewed them and decided they were confidential. Under order from Eugene Kaspersky (company founder) the files were deleted. In a further twist, the company has this week confirmed it will sue the US government over the accusations and subsequent ban of its products.
Microsoft and US Government
Microsoft has been at loggerheads with the Department of Justice (DoJ) over requests for customer files. The company refused to hand over data related to the perpetrator of the San Bernardino terror attack. With data held in Ireland, Microsoft argues it the government would through proper channels.
In October, Microsoft dropped its own lawsuit against the DoJ after the agency decided to provide more insight for gag orders.