This means that they knowingly or with reckless negligence unleashed such an attack on the world. If they had been more "scrupulous" criminals, they would have more narrowly tailored their attack on targets they believed deserved to be extorted or where such extortion would not interfere with life critical systems.
I'm not a lawyer, but if they were a nation state, I believe they would have violated the Geneva Convention's prohibition on attacking hospitals.
That said, I think this attack gives more weight to NSA critics that contend that their exploit research should be focused more on defense rather than offensive capabilities. Their carelessness combined with another group wanting to embarrass them is what allowed this indiscriminate attack to be inflicted on civilian infrastructure.
Old news. The more recent and much more insidious variant is calling the hospitals simply "valid targets".
Or in case of an unexpectedly intense media backlash, "a mistake".
Which is why we're currently in a situation where zero-days that NSA easily knew would be leaked were not patched at least a month ahead of time were left unpatched. The costs aren't significant enough to motivate them to respond to their failures.
People like to blame the capitalistic incentives for not upgrading from Windows XP but to me the failure to respond to this obvious outcome of the leaking of NSA malware is far more insidious. These sys-admins managing old systems were not prepared for state-financed malware to be released to C-level cyber criminals as a 'threat-actor'.
The poor state of corporate information security has been exposed in the last few days, but even that sorry state is nothing compared to the failed responsibility of the US government to value their citizens over internal objectives. Which is increasingly a common narrative that is a unsurprisingly a result of the unencumbered growth of the security state and by proxy the executive branch whom they ultimately report to.
Then, if the commanders force patients to stay by threat of violence to stay as human shields, that's a further war crime. The responsibility of casualties here is more with those using patients like this, than anyone else.
I'm not really advocating yes or no to bombing hospitals or schools to kill terrorist leaders hiding within - but your assertion is false. We will kill the hostages. All actual breaches involve a risk of % losses and that's baked into the decision to go in. Just a person somewhere trying to make a decision about the best outcome, for the "greater good".
Now before everyone buries me, total war is a rather rare military state, and probably only present a select few times in the 20th century.
A small prize to pay for not having nazies stomp around my backyard (almost literally, there are remnants of a nazi bunker not half a mile from where I live).
Edit: good book on the subject https://www.google.co.nz/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/books/201...