Illustration: Reuters / Pawel Kopczynski

The US accused North Korea on Tuesday of carrying out a massive cyberattack that hit hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide in May.

The hacker assault by Pyongyang reportedly used the WannaCry ransomware. Among other targets, it attacked hospitals in Britain disrupting the local health care system.

“After careful investigation, the United States is publicly attributing the massive WannaCry cyberattack to North Korea,” Thomas Bossert, assistant to President Donald Trump for homeland security and counterterrorism, said at a briefing at the White House. “We do not make this allegation lightly. We do so with evidence and we do so with partners.”

The official announcement came a few hours after Bossert made the charges in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal late Monday.

In the piece titled “It’s Official: North Korea is Behind WannaCry,” Bossert characterized the attack as “cowardly, costly and careless.”

He noted that Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Japan have agreed with the US assessment and have joined Washington in denouncing North Korea.

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world's first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now.