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The U.S. is accusing North Korea of the "WannaCry" cyber-attacks, which caused massive disruptions earlier this year through a computer virus that affected thousands of computers in over 150 countries. 

What's not so hard to see about this is the reason:  Under the Obama Administration in May, 2011, the US set a policy to respond to cyber attacks as "acts of war" - using actual military assets to respond. 

Hence, if we're looking for a reason to attack North Korea over its missiles and its nuclear weapons, we now have one.  All perfectly legal according to the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime.

President Trump plans to call on “all responsible states” to combat Pyongyang's ability to implement hostile cyber attacks, as well as rally the United Nations Security Council to slap on all "relevant" sanctions in response, a U.S. official familiar with the matter told The Washington Post on Monday.

Tom Bossert, the president's homeland security announced the Trump administration's plan in an op-ed set to be published on Monday evening with an additional statement on Tuesday morning.

Other states have already announced that they believe North Korea created the computer worm that included ransomware, blocking users from accessing their computer until a ransom was paid.

The United Kingdom in a report released in October said the attacks originated from North Korea.

Wanna Decryptor, also known as WannaCry or wcry, was the ransomware programme used in the attack – a malicious software used by hackers to block access to a computer system until a ransom is paid.

The White House's Homeland Security advisor Thomas Bossert said: “The US today publicly attributes the massive 'WannaCry' cyberattack to North Korea.

“We do not make this allegation lightly. It is based on evidence.

“The attack spread indiscriminately across the world in May. It encrypted and rendered useless hundreds of thousands of computers in hospitals, schools, businesses and homes. 

“While victims received ransom demands, paying did not unlock their computers. It was cowardly, costly and careless. The attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea is directly responsible.

“Other governments and private companies agree. The United Kingdom attributes the attack to North Korea, and Microsoft traced the attack to cyber affiliates of the North Korean government.”

In October, the British Government said it believed “quite strongly” Pyongyang was responsible for the ‘WannaCry' ransomware attack.

But following accusation from Theresa May’s security minister Ben Wallace, North Korea hit back saying the statement was “despicable” and “an act beyond the limit of our tolerance”.

A statement from the state's propaganda news agency KCNA slammed the allegation and warned Britain to “seriously reflect” on what was being claimed. 

The statement said: “The UK has made another attempt to incriminate the DPRK as a cyber-criminal. 

“The DPRK has clarified our principled stand, on every opportune occasion, to oppose terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.”

 

Act of War

In May, 2011, the Obama Administration adopted official US policy regarding cyber attacks upon the United States. The full 30 page  .PDF file is available online from the Obama White House Archives web site HERE  

On page 14 of the document, the US adopts as policy, the following:

 

Pay special attention to the part that says " . . .we will exhaust all options before military force WHENEVER WE CAN . . ."

This policy document was issued by the United States in accordance with the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime. 

The Convention on Cybercrime, also known as the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime or the Budapest Convention, is the first international treaty seeking to address Internet and computer crime by harmonizing national laws, improving investigative techniques, and increasing cooperation among nations. It was drawn up by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, with the active participation of the Council of Europe's observer states Canada, Japan, South Africa and the United States.

The Convention and its Explanatory Report was adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe at its 109th Session on 8 November 2001. It was opened for signature in Budapest, on 23 November 2001 and it entered into force on 1 July 2004.As of December 2016, 52 states have ratified the convention, while a further four states had signed the convention but not ratified it.

Since it entered into force, important countries like Brazil and India have declined to adopt the Convention on the grounds that they did not participate in its drafting. Russia opposes the Convention, stating that adoption would violate Russian sovereignty, and has usually refused to cooperate in law enforcement investigations relating to cybercrime.

On 1 March 2006, the Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime came into force. Those States that have ratified the additional protocol are required to criminalize the dissemination of racist and xenophobic material through computer systems, as well as threats and insults motivated by racism or xenophobia.

Its ratification by the United States Senate by unanimous consent in August 2006 was both praised and condemned. The United States became the 16th nation to ratify the convention. The Convention entered into force in the United States on 1 January 2007.

That Treaty is available HERE

Under the US "International Strategy for Cyberspace (5/11) the US found that: 

States have an inherent right to self-defense that may be triggered by certain aggressive acts in cyberspace…. Certain hostile acts conducted through cyberspace could compel actions under the commitments we have with our military treaty partners…. When warranted, the United States will respond to hostile acts in cyberspace as we would any other threat to our country.

Also then points to Glenn Greenwald who notes, (back in 2012) the Pentagon is similarly on the record arguing that cyberattacks are acts of war:

Needless to say, if any cyber-attack is directed at the U.S. –rather than by the U.S.–it will be instantly depicted as an act of unparalleled aggression and evil: Terrorism. Just last year, the Pentagon decreed that any cyberattack on the U.S. would be deemed "an act of war."

 

So there you have it, folks.  All wrapped up in a nice red bow for Christmas.  Now that we officially blame North Korea for the WannaCry ransomeware attach, we  have the legal authority under International Law, backed-up by Treaty, to attack North Korea as a "self-defense response" to their WannaCry ransomware cyber-attack.

And here's the icing on the cake: Since North Korea "attacked" first, China is OFF THE HOOK to defend them!

How sweet is that?

 

 

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