Microsoft sued for weak security

Friday, 3 October 2003, 4:30 PM EST

Microsoft faces a proposed class-action lawsuit in California based on the claim that its market-dominant software is vulnerable to viruses capable of triggering "massive, cascading failures" in global computer networks.

The lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, also claims that Microsoft's security warnings are too complex to be understood by the general public and serve instead to tip off "fast-moving" hackers on how to exploit flaws in its operating system.

The suit claims unfair competition and the violation of two California consumer rights laws, one of which is intended to protect the privacy of personal information in computer databases. It asks for unspecified damages and legal costs, as well as an injunction against Microsoft barring it from unfair business practices.

Many of the arguments in the lawsuit and some of its language echoed a report issued by computer security experts in late September, which warned that the ubiquitous reach of Microsoft's software on desktops worldwide had made computer networks a national security risk.

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