Microsoft to warn email users of possible state-sponsored attacks

As part of its movement towards better security for its users, Microsoft has recently stated that it will now start warning users of its Outlook.com email service regarding potential governmental attacks that are being done towards their accounts.

According to two former employees of Microsoft, several years ago, a hacking campaign was discovered, which was found by the company's experts to be coming from Chinese authorities. The attacks reportedly targeted diplomats, media workers, human rights lawyers, and other people in sensitive positions in China. However, during that time, Microsoft did not inform or disseminate warnings to the users of its email service.

"As the threat landscape has evolved our approach has too, and we'll now go beyond notification and guidance to specify if we reasonably believe the attacker is 'state-sponsored'," Microsoft said in a statement to Reuters.

In a blog post about its plans, Microsoft stated that they are taking the extra step of security as the attacks could be more sophisticated compared to cybercriminals. Moreover, the company assures its users that receiving such attack notifications does not mean that Microsoft's systems have been compromised. The post further states:

If you receive one of these notifications it doesn’t necessarily mean that your account has been compromised, but it does mean we have evidence your account has been targeted, and it’s very important you take additional measures to keep your account secure. You should also make sure your computer and other devices don’t not have viruses or malware installed, and that all your software is up to date.

This move by Microsoft follows similar acts by other companies like Facebook, and more recently, Twitter.

Source: Reuters | Microsoft Homepage on a monitor screen through a magnifying glass image via Shutterstock

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