A consumer in California filed a class-action lawsuit this week against Microsoft on behalf of what could be millions of additional plaintiffs, claiming that the company's dominant Windows platform is vulnerable to dangerous virus attacks that could trigger "massive" and "cascading" failures of the world's networks. In addition, the suit claims that Microsoft's security warnings are too complicated for typical consumers to understand and are instead used as tips for intruders who want to undermine Windows. Given Microsoft's unbelievable security problems this year and company executives' public admissions that the worst is yet to come, this lawsuit and others like it were probably inevitable.
"Microsoft's eclipsing dominance in desktop software has created a global security risk," the lawsuit reads. "As a result of Microsoft's concerted effort to strengthen and expand its monopolies by tightly integrating applications with its operating system ... the world's computer networks are now susceptible to massive, cascading failure." The suit claims that Microsoft competes unfairly and has violated two of California's consumer-rights laws. It seeks unspecified damages and legal costs, as well as an injunction that would bar Microsoft from its allegedly unfair business practices.
The lawsuit comes in the wake of the MSBlaster (LoveSan) worm and the SoBig.F virus, which struck in August, and a report that Microsoft competitors issued to Congress in late September that argued that governments shouldn't use Microsoft software because of its inherent security problems. And others have argued that the company should be held financially liable for problems that security vulnerabilities in its software cause, even as the company's executives hint at changes in its security strategy.