Advertisement

We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
Hacking

Microsoft will start telling users if they were the target of government snooping

The policy change follows news that Chinese authorities had hacked into more than a thousand Hotmail accounts back in 2011.

MICROSOFT WILL NOW tell users if they’ve been the target of a “state-sponsored” attack after details of such an incident, carried out by Chinese hackers back in 2011, was revealed.

The company already notifies users if their Outlook or OneDrive account has been targeted but will now notified them whenever their accounts are being targeted by government hackers.

It follows the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Google and Yahoo who have also introduced similar policies.

“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,” said Scott Charney in a post. “These notifications do not mean that Microsoft’s own systems have in any way been compromised”.

It does not plan to share any more details other than a user has been targeted but says that when it has enough evidence to suggest an attack was state-sponsored, it will alert those users targeted.

The policy change comes after Reuters revealed how Chinese authorities hacked into more than a thousand Hotmail (now OutLook) accounts back in 2011.

Some of those targeted included international leaders of China’s Tibetan and Uighur minorities as well as human rights lawyers.

When Microsoft was alerted to the issue by security company Trend Micro, it patched the holes allowing hackers access to those email accounts, but it didn’t tell those affected about the problem or the scope of the issue.

Microsoft later issued a statement saying neither it or the US government could pinpoint the source of the attacks and they didn’t originate from a single country.

Read: These are some of the best smartphone games released this year >

Read: This is how you can strengthen your accounts’ passwords >

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
9
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.