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Microsoft President Brad Smith discusses fighting cyberattacks and disinformation during the war in Ukraine

Microsoft Logo 2022
Microsoft Logo 2022 (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft President Brad Smith discussed several ways that Microsoft is helping during the war in Ukraine.
  • Microsoft is working with multiple governments, including informing the Ukrainian government of a cyberattack on February 24, 2022.
  • Multiple measures have been put in place by Microsoft to stop the spread of state-sponsored disinformation.

Microsoft President Brad Smith outlines the company's efforts to help people during the war in Ukraine in a recent blog post (opens in new tab). Microsoft is working with several governments, fighting against cyberattacks, and preventing the spread of state-sponsored disinformation. The tech giant is also working with the International Committee of the Red Cross and other agencies and using technology to assist in humanitarian efforts. Smith also explained Microsoft's efforts to protect its own employees, including those based in Ukraine and Russia.

"We are fielding a growing number of inquiries about these aspects and our work, and therefore we are putting in one place a short summary about them in this blog," said Smith. "This includes four areas: protecting Ukraine from cyberattacks; protection from state-sponsored disinformation campaigns; support for humanitarian assistance; and the protection of our employees."

Smith highlights that Microsoft is a company, not a government. Because of this, the tech giant is working with governments around the world, including the Ukrainian government, the European Union, multiple nations in Europe, the U.S. government, NATO, and the United Nations.

Microsoft's Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) detected multiple cyberattacks on February 24, 2022 that targeted Ukraine's digital infrastructure. Microsoft informed the Ukrainian government of the threats and has since shared threat intelligence and defensive suggestions with Ukrainian officials.

Smith noted that Microsoft is "especially concerned about recent cyberattacks on Ukrainian civilian digital targets, including the financial sector, agriculture sector, emergency response services, humanitarian aid efforts, and energy sector organizations and enterprises. These attacks on civilian targets raise serious concerns under the Geneva Convention, and we have shared information with the Ukrainian government about each of them."

Microsoft also continues to share appropriate information with NATO and American officials.

Several steps have also been taken by Microsoft to prevent the spread of state-sponsored disinformation. Microsoft's Start platform, which includes MSN.com, will not display state-sponsored content from RT or Sputnik. The RT news app is being removed from the Microsoft Store, and Bing will de-rank RT and Sputnik sites in search results.

In related news, Twitter recently announced that it would label new sources affiliated with the Russian government (via Forbes).

Smith explained that Microsoft is working with the ICRC and several UN agencies to help people in need of humanitarian aid. The ICRC is helping support refugees fleeing from the war, and Microsoft is supporting those efforts.

Microsoft has many employees based in Ukraine and Russia. The company also has members of staff of Russian and Ukrainian origin. All of these people are affected by the war in different ways, and Microsoft is working to aid its employees.

"Like other multinational companies, Microsoft is devoted to the protection of its employees. This is of obvious and vital importance for our employees in Ukraine itself, and it includes ongoing and extraordinary efforts by our teams to help our employees and families, including those who have needed to flee for their lives or safety," said Smith.

"It also includes our employees in Russia itself, who did not start this war and should not risk discrimination inside or outside their nation either because of their employer's actions to protect others or the decisions of a government they do not control," said the Microsoft President. "We also remain closely focused on support for our employees in the broader region, where we are monitoring the situation closely."

Smith concludes his post with a call for "the restoration of peace, respect for Ukraine's sovereignty and the protection of its people."

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).