Microsoft identifies Russian hacking of conservatives

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Russia is still attempting to interfere with the democracy of the United States according to Microsoft.

Yesterday, Microsoft identified a few attacks which were aimed at the International Republican Institue and the Hudson Institute. The firm thwarted both attacks and alerted the entities themselves. Russia is expected to address (and deny) the reports this week, as it has done when faced with other allegations of hacking and shenanigans by multiple countries over the past few years.

In response, Microsoft has now enabled a new AccountGuard Initiative as part of its Defending Democracy program which will provide protection to candidates and campaign officials in order to protect them from further threats. Microsoft is offering this technology free of charge to political organisations which are already making use of Office 365.

AccountGuard offers the following features:

  1. Threat notification across accounts. The Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center will enable Microsoft to detect and provide notification of attacks in a unified way across both organizational and personal email systems. For political campaigns and other eligible organizations, when an attack is identified, this will provide a more comprehensive view of attacks against campaign staff. When verifiable threats are detected, Microsoft will provide personal and expedited recommendations to campaigns and campaign staff to secure their systems.
  2. Security guidance and ongoing education. Officials, campaigns and related political organizations will receive guidance to help make their networks and email systems more secure. This can include applying multi-factor authentication, installing the latest security updates and guidance for setting up systems that ensure only those people who need data and documents can access them. AccountGuard will provide updated briefings and training to address evolving cyberattack trends.
  3. Early adopter opportunities. Microsoft will provide preview releases of new security features on a par with the services offered to our large corporate and government account customers.

“Democracy requires vigilance and at times action by citizens to protect and maintain it. No individual or company can hope to meet this imperative by itself,” Smith said, “We all need to do our part. We’re committed to doing our part by helping to protect candidates and campaigns in preserving their voices and votes no matter what party they support.”

Source: Microsoft via Reuters

More about the topics: microsoft, russia, russian hackers

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