A wave of serious ransomware attacks is spreading around the world — and the virus might have sprung from a leak in the U.S. government. The virus encrypts an infected computer's files and demands a ransom of $300 to decrypt them again. Europol law enforcement officials said the virus has hit more than 200,000 computers 150 countries. The virus seems to be derived from a National Security Agency (NSA) exploit of a Windows operating system bug that was revealed in April by hackers.
Class discussion: Is it a good idea for the NSA to find and use flaws in computer operating systems and other programs for its spying mission? Is the flood of ransomware attacks an example of what can happen when one of these bugs become known to hackers? Are the people in charge of the attacked computers to blame for not updating the security of their operating systems? Should the NSA tell software companies when it finds a programming flaw? Or, does it need those bugs to discover people trying to harm the United States?
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