Microsoft To Flag State-Sponsored Hacking Of Its Users’ Accounts

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Microsoft has pledged to inform its users of state-sponsored surveillance or hacks of their accounts. This means that Microsoft will now tell you if your account has been compromised by government authorities.

Microsoft had already been telling people using Outlook.com email and OneDrive storage if they’d been targeted or hacked. Now it will specifically say if it looks like a nation or government agency might be involved.

Joining other US technology companies – including Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter – Microsoft said that the change in policy was designed to help users protect their data after failing to do so when Chinese authorities allegedly compromised over 1,000 Hotmail accounts.

Microsoft, after being alerted by security company Trend Micro in 2011, patched the security loop-holes in its web services that allowed the hackers gain access to the emails and reset user passwords. But it failed to alert the affected users to the hack, allowing the hackers to continue their activities according to Microsoft’s former employees.

Scott Charney, a high-level security executive at Microsoft wrote on their blog that “We’re taking this additional step of specifically letting you know if we have evidence that the attacker may be ‘state-sponsored’ because it is likely that the attack could be more sophisticated or more sustained than attacks from cybercriminals and others.”

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