Thousands of Microsoft customer accounts compromised due to corporate surveillance and data theft

According to network security specialists, thousands of cyberattacks compromised the information security of more than 10k Microsoft customers last year. Most of these malicious activities were reportedly carried out from countries such as North Korea, Iran and Russia.  

Microsoft’s corporate vice president for customer trust and security, Tom Burt, mentioned on the company’s official blog that “about 84% of the victims of these attacks are Microsoft’s business customers,” so the remaining 16% are individuals who use some of the company’s software solutions.

While Microsoft does not know whether these attacks are commonly motivated, they do accept that the scale at which attacks are taking place, in addition to the methods used by hackers, should alert authorities in various countries, as network security experts believe that these hacker groups have the capacity and resources to compromise security at a considerable level.

In the U.S. alone, about 700 civilian organizations interested in strengthening democracy using the Microsoft solution called Account Guard were victims of cyberattacks allegedly sponsored by foreign governments. In addition, according to figures collected by security firms around the world, about 90% of cyberattacks against civil or political organizations target US-based groups.

Network security specialists at the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) believe these figures to be a clear indicator that the security of the 2020 US election could be compromised. On the other hand, President Donald Trump recently stated that the U.S. has what it takes to keep the next election process safe from any foreign intervention attempt.

Along with China, the three countries mentioned above are the main U.S. adversaries in what is known as cyber warfare. Whether for intelligence tasks, corporate espionage, surveillance or as a way of influencing an electoral process, the hacker groups sponsored by these governments are constantly evolving to bypass U.S. inhabitants, private companies and government institutions’ protection measures.

The Kremlin’s influence has already been proven in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, so President Trump’s administration will not want a campaign of intervention to be re-run in his country.