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Microsoft and NSA face off over cyber attack

SEATTLE/WASHINGTON DC – While banks and critical organisations have tightened their security systems following the global WannaCrypt ransomeware assault of the weekend, there is a blame game brewing in the USA over who was responsible.

Microsoft is pointing its finger at the US Government, while many experts say the software giant is also accountable.

Capitalising on spying tools developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA), the ransomware attack has infected tens of thousands of computers in 104 countries, though at this stage relatively few in Australia.

Microsoft chief legal officer Brad Smith blamed the NSA’s practice of developing hacking methods to use against the US Government’s enemies for leaving gaping vulnerabilities.

Although the argument that it’s the NSA’s fault has merit, Microsoft should shoulder blame too, according to Alex Abdo, staff lawyer at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

“Technology companies owe their customers a reliable process for patching security vulnerabilities,” he said. “When a design flaw is discovered in a car, manufacturers issue a recall. Yet, when a serious vulnerability is discovered in software, many companies respond slowly or say it’s not their problem.”

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