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Microsoft warns Office 365 users about hacking nation states


Microsoft will soon notify Office 365 users of suspected hacking activity by government-related cybercriminals detected in some subscribers, according to a new list on the 365 roadmap.

Microsoft Defender for Office 365 (formerly known as Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection or Office 365 ATP) provides corporate Office 365 accounts with email protection against various types of threats, including credential phishing and commercial email compromise, as well as automatic attack correction.

Notifications will be added to the customers’ security portal to give them an edge over what the company considers the most advanced hacker groups it currently tracks. “We are adding an alert to the security portal to notify customers when suspicious activity from a nation-state is detected at the subscriber,” Microsoft said in a statement.

“Threats from nation states are defined as cyber threat activities that originate in a particular country with the apparent intention of obtaining profit in favor of national interests. These attacks represent some of the most advanced and persistent threat activities that Microsoft tracks, ”the note added.

Microsoft has been tracking, alerting and stopping hacker operations from Russia, Iran and China for years. Last month, for example, the software maker revealed that vulnerability researchers were targeted by the North Korean hacking group tracked as Zinc or Lazarus for several months using a Chrome exploit chain that likely “used zero-day or crash exploits patch.

In the past six months alone, Microsoft has warned of hackers sponsored by Russia, China and Iran targeting the 2020 US elections; Iranian-supported attackers hacking security conference attendees and also halted a nation-state hacking operation that used Azure’s cloud infrastructure for attacks.

Microsoft has added priority protection for high-level employee accounts, such as executive-level managers who are regularly targeted.

A new feature in Office 365 to allow customers to test Microsoft Defender email protection without having to configure their environment and devices has also been added to Office 365 recently.

Organizations that do not yet have a supported license for Microsoft Defender for Office 365 can start a free 30-day trial and try it out on the Office 365 Security & Compliance Center.

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