Microsoft claims to have discovered a new malware package called “FoxBlade” just hours before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Microsoft president Brad Smith stated in a blog post that the Ukrainian government, the European Union, European states, the US government, NATO, and the United Nations were all working together to safeguard users in Ukraine.
Smith pointed out that attacks on Ukraine observed by Microsoft have been quite focused and not as widespread as the NotPetya attack in 2017. However, Smith said that recent attacks on civilian digital targets in Ukraine had included the financial sector, agriculture sector, emergency response agencies, humanitarian relief initiatives, and energy sector organizations and corporations.
Microsoft has also informed Ukraine’s authorities about data theft attempts, including healthcare, insurance, transportation, and other personally identifiable information from official sources. In addition to its cybersecurity efforts in Ukraine, Microsoft stated it is working to restrict the visibility of official Russian propaganda and guarantee that its platforms do not unwittingly support these activities.
Smith said that in conformity with a recent EU judgement, the Microsoft Start platform (including MSN.com) will not serve any state-sponsored RT and Sputnik content. “We are removing RT news apps from our Windows app store and further de-ranking these sites’ search results on Bing so that it will only return RT and Sputnik links when a user clearly intends to navigate to those pages.”
Eventually, Microsoft has removed all RT and Sputnik adverts from their ad network and will not post any ads from their ad network on these sites. According to Smith, Microsoft is collaborating on refugee support efforts with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and various UN agencies.