Technology Record - Issue 28: Spring 2023

50 COVER STORY The war in Ukraine began on 24 February 2022. “On that day, hours before missiles were launched and tanks rolled across borders, Russian actors launched a massive destructive cyberattack against Ukrainian government, technology, and financial sector targets,” says Tom Burt, corporate vice president of customer security and trust at Microsoft, in the Microsoft Digital Defense Report 2022. During the first four months of the war, Microsoft observed multiple destructive cyberattacks against nearly 50 Ukrainian agencies and enterprises. Methods included spear phishing with malicious attachments or links, exploitation of the IT services supply chain to impact downstream customers, exploitation of public-facing applications to gain initial access to networks, and the use of administrative accounts for network discovery and lateral movement. The ferocity of these attacks is a stark reminder to all, in Ukraine and beyond, of the need for enterprises and public sector organisations to protect themselves with basic cyber hygiene and the employment of endpoint detection and response tools. “I believe Microsoft has a responsibility to protect the digital systems that underpin the social fabric of our society,” says Burt. A threat to democracy “Democracy needs trustworthy information to flourish,” says Teresa Hutson, vice president of technology and corporate responsibility at Microsoft. She highlights the influence operations being developed and perpetuated by nation states as a key area of focus for Microsoft: “These campaigns erode trust, increase polarisation, and threaten democratic processes.” Microsoft has been developing tools and threat detection capabilities to combat the evolving and expanding risk of nation state-driven influence operations. “To enable this work, we recently acquired Miburo Solutions, we partner with third-party validators such as the Global Disinformation Index and NewsGuard, and we participate – and at times lead – multistakeholder partnerships, including the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity,” says Hutson. “Only by working together can we succeed in taking on those who seek to undermine democratic processes and institutions.” Simple but effective Businesses must be aware of the ‘cat and mouse’ nature of modern cybercrime. When criminals make their attacks, their victims respond accordingly, perhaps putting extra measures in place to prevent similar situations in future. But the attackers come back bigger and better, with new ways to get around their victims’ defences. “Attackers are adapting and finding new ways to implement their techniques, increasing the complexity of how and where they host BY ELLY YATES-ROBERTS Global shifts, from war to hybrid working, have changed the cybersecurity landscape. Microsoft and its partners are working together to combat evolving risks enterprise the Securing