UPDATE 1-U.S. to blame North Korea for 'WannaCry' cyber attack -sources

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WASHINGTON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - The Trump administration is expected on Tuesday to publicly blame North Korea for unleashing a cyber attack that crippled hospitals, banks and other companies across the globe earlier this year, said two sources familiar with the matter.

The accusation that the North Korean government was behind the so-called WannaCry attack comes as worries mount about North Korea's hacking capabilities and its nuclear weapons program.

The U.S. government has assessed with a "very high level of confidence" that a hacking entity known as Lazarus Group, which works on behalf of the North Korean government, carried out the WannaCry attack, a senior administration official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details not yet public.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Dustin Volz; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Peter Cooney)