(CNN)On Friday, the world experienced the wrath of a well-coordinated ransomware attack, known as WannaCrypt. The attack caused Britain’s NHS to cancel surgeries, a wide array of Russian and Chinese private and public institutions to be crippled most of the day, and the rest of the world to recoil in shock.
Though there are undoubtedly professionals who share data unconditionally — as MalwareTech himself did — yesterday’s events make it clear that the efforts of the information security community need greater alignment, and that the world cannot rely on a combination of serendipity and lazy coding to prevent the next attack.
Second, we must ask whether WannaCrypt was merely a test of readiness. Perhaps the kill switch existed not out of laziness but as a deliberate act, one designed to test how long it would take to shut down the attack.
On the other hand, perhaps the creators intended to gather intelligence on the extent and type of systems that could be affected by malware targeting aged operating systems like Windows XP, which developers do not regularly update or support.
On April 8, 2014, Microsoft ended its support of the Windows XP operating system on which WannaCrypt relied to propagate, and yet institutions around the globe continue to use it.
The world was quite different three years ago: the Internet of Things was a nascent but growing concept. Today the IoT is a major concern.