ONGOING REDMOND COMPANY Microsoft has denied claims made by Reuters that the firm it was aware that the Chinese authorities were hacking its users at the turn of the decade.
We reported this suggestion when we covered new Redmond rules on state-sponsored attacks and whether or not it would tell people about them.
Reuters claimed an exclusive on this, but then it was the news outfit that took a problem to Microsoft about Chinese interference earlier this month.
Reuters tangoed with Microsoft about a problem from 2011 that it might have decided to keep close to its chest.
Redmond is not happy with the line that Reuters took, and was quick to tell us so. "Our focus is on helping customers keep personal information secure and private. Our primary concern was ensuring that our customers quickly took practical steps to secure their accounts, including by forcing a password reset," the company said.
"We weighed several factors in responding to this incident, including the fact that neither Microsoft nor the US government were able to identify the source of the attacks, which did not come from any single country. We also considered the potential impact on any subsequent investigation and ongoing measures we were taking to prevent potential future attacks."
We have found a public blog on the changes, and there all the details are revealed from Microsoft in presumably a much more accurate way.
"We're committed to helping our users keep their personal information secure and private. A key part of our work is identifying and preventing unauthorised access to your Microsoft Account (including Outlook.com email and OneDrive) by anyone other than you," said Scott Charney, corporate vice president for trustworthy computing at Microsoft.
"We're taking an additional step today. We will now notify you if we believe your account has been targeted or compromised by an individual or group working on behalf of a nation state."
Charney and Microsoft have some DIY advice too, and recommended that users take on options like two-factor authentication and the use of strong passwords.
"We already notify users if we believe their accounts have been targeted or compromised by a third party, and we provide guidance on measures users can take to keep their accounts secure," he added.
"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 cyber criminals and others. These notifications do not mean that Microsoft's own systems have in any way been compromised."
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