Microsoft is seeking to reinforce its cybersecurity, following a recent legal victory against overseas hackers. According to CNBC, the court ruling allowed Microsoft to appropriate 50 domains that hackers used to infiltrate user accounts. “Thallium,” a group of hackers reportedly based in North Korea, used malware to collect and misuse the personal information of thousands of users in America, Japan, and South Korea. The latest pernicious attacks compromised systems and enabled emails, calendar entries, and other password-protected information to remain available to hackers even after users had changed their passwords.
Thallium hackers gained access to Microsoft accounts through phishing techniques, in which users are prompted to click on links that appear to be from genuine sources. The fallout from such hacks is substantial, as the malware embedded in the links creates infinite system vulnerabilities. Thallium is not the only group of its kind. Other groups, such as the Russia-based Strontium and China-operated Barrium, pose similar threats, and create strategic, mass-scale targets, such as think tanks, as well as government and university employees.
Microsoft exposed Thallium by engaging in extensive investigative techniques through its Threat Intelligence Center and Digital Crimes Unit. The tech giant’s proactive measures and legal actions are a major step forward in combating cybersecurity. The win represents a victory for Microsoft and for increasingly vulnerable and frustrated users.
“With this action, the sites can no longer be used to execute attacks,” Microsoft stated in a recent blog post, then went on to underscore the importance of cybersecurity.
“We think it’s critical that governments and the private sector are increasingly transparent about nation-state activity so we can all continue the global dialogue about protecting the internet,“ Microsoft continued.
Microsoft still encourages its customers to be vigilant about suspicious activity and other changes related to their accounts. It is vowing to use the research gleaned from the Thallium investigation to keep its customers informed and protected against future threats.