Monday, May 15, 2017

Asian Windows Bootleggers Now WannaCry....,


NYTimes |  China, India and Russia were among the countries most affected by the ransomware attack, according to the Moscow-based computer security firm Kaspersky Lab. The three countries are also big sources of pirated software. A study last year by BSA, a trade association of software vendors, found that in China, the share of unlicensed software reached 70 percent in 2015. Russia, with a rate of 64 percent, and India, with 58 percent, were close behind.

Zhu Huanjie, who is studying network engineering in the city of Hangzhou, blamed a number of ills for the spread of the attack, like the lack of security on school networks. But he said piracy was also a factor. Many users, he said, did not update their software to get the latest safety features because of a fear that their copies would be damaged or locked, while universities offered only older, pirated versions.

“Most of the schools are now all using pirate software, including operation system and professional software,” he said, adding: “In China, the Windows that most people are using is still pirated. This is just the way it is.”

On Monday, some Chinese institutions were still moving to clean out computer systems jammed by the attack, which initially struck on Friday and spread across the world. Prestigious research institutions like Tsinghua University were affected, as were major companies like China Telecom and Hainan Airlines.

China’s securities regulator said it had taken down its network to try to ensure it would not be affected, and the country’s banking regulator warned lenders to be cautious when dealing with the malicious software, which locked users out of their computers and demanded payment to allow them back in.

Police stations and local security offices reported problems on social media, while students at universities reported being locked out of final thesis papers. Electronic payment systems at gas stations run by the state oil giant PetroChina were cut off for much of the weekend. Over all, according to the official state television broadcaster, about 40,000 institutions were hit. Separately, the Chinese security company Qihoo 360 reported that computers at more than 29,000 organizations had been infected.

If those behind the ransomware attack profited from the hacking, they may have figured out how to do something that has been beyond Microsoft: making money from Windows in China. Microsoft and other Western companies have complained for years that a large majority of the computers running their software are using pirated versions.