What we currently know about the global cyberattack

The Wanna Cry ransomware has a new face.                  James Martin  CNET

May 17 Chinese state media on Wednesday criticised the United States for hindering efforts to stop global cyber threats in the wake of the WannaCry "ransomware" attack that has infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide in recent days.

Windows 10, the latest version of Microsoft's flagship operating system franchise, accounts for another 15 percent, while older versions of Windows including 8.1, 8, XP and Vista, account for the remainder, BitSight estimated. The first WannaCry attack was reported at 4:07pm Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) on Friday, May 12.

"It should be included in all Windows - it shouldn't be that you have to pay more for a more secure version of Windows", says Michael Cherry, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, an independent research firm.

These exploits were made public earlier this year and Microsoft quickly responded by patching the versions of Windows it still supports. But users of older software, such as Windows XP, have to pay hefty fees for so-called "custom" support. There is a cost attached to supporting a product, and it is unfair to expect an organization to support a 16-year old product without paying for extended support.

The malware attack, which began on Friday and has been linked by some researchers to previous hits by a North Korean-run hacking operation, leveraged a tool built by the NSA that leaked online in April, Microsoft says.

Microsoft has release a security update patch for customers, who are running these versions.

Vu Ngoc Son, deputy head of the anti-malware department of Bkav Corporation, the largest internet security firm in Vietnam, said that the WannaCry ransomware's behaviour is "not new", but he believes that the use of this ransomware will not really ease up as "it can directly earn large profits for hackers".

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Liran Eshel, chief executive of cloud storage provider CTERA Networks, said: "The attack shows how sophisticated ransomware has become, forcing even unaffected organisations to rethink strategies".

Europol said it does not know the motive behind it.

"It's hard to imagine what more Microsoft could have done", said King.

The attack was a reminder that people and businesses should keep their software up to date, or else remain vulnerable, Smith said. While withdrawals through the bank counters are still going on, a lot of ATMs with obsolete Windows Operating Systems in Bangalore have been shut down, IANS report said. "This is one reason we called in February for a new "Digital Geneva Convention" to govern these issues, including a new requirement for governments to report vulnerabilities to vendors, rather than stockpile, sell, or exploit them".

Microsoft said: "Security experts across the industry agree that the best protection is to be on a modern, up-to-date system that incorporates the latest defence-in-depth innovations".

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