Microsoft on Wednesday said it will offer its cyber security service AccountGuard to 12 new markets in Europe including Germany, France and Spain, to close security gaps and protect customers in political space from hacking.
Microsoft had recently detected attacks, which occurred between September and December 2018, targeting employees of the German Council on Foreign Relations and European offices of The Aspen Institute and The German Marshall Fund, the company said in a blog post.
The attacks, which targeted 104 employee accounts in Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Romania, and Serbia, are believed to have originated from a group called Strontium.
The AccountGuard service will also be available in Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal and Slovakia.
Ahead of a European Parliament election in May, German officials are trying to bolster cyber security after a far-reaching data breach by a 20-year-old student laid bare the vulnerability of Europe’s largest economy.
Microsoft AccountGuard is free of charge to candidates, campaigns and related political institutions using Office 365.
Microsoft president Brad Smith said in Aug 2018 said Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) executed a court order to disrupt and transfer control of six internet domains created by a group associated with the Russian government and known as Strontium, or alternatively Fancy Bear or APT28.
Microsoft said it has used this approach 12 times in two years to shut down 84 fake websites associated with this group. Attackers want their attacks to look as realistic as possible and they therefore create websites and URLs that look like sites their targeted victims would expect to receive email from or visit.