Microsoft identifies and mitigates new malware targeting Ukraine “within 3 hours”

Company is also removing and deprioritizing info from Russian state media.

Microsoft identifies and mitigates new malware targeting Ukraine “within 3 hours”
Shadowy figures stand beneath a Microsoft logo on a faux wood wall.

Enlarge (credit: Drew Angerer | Getty Images)

Microsoft has been pushing harder to increase the baseline security features of Windows PCs for a couple of years now—the "secured-core PC" initiative launched back in 2019 was meant to guard against firmware-level attacks, and Windows 11's system requirements mandate support for many supported-but-optional security features from Windows 10. Microsoft justified these new requirements in part by pointing to the NotPetya data-wiping malware, which has widely been attributed to Russian hackers.

Regarding similar cyberattacks, a recent post from Microsoft President & Vice Chair Brad Smith details more about how the company is responding to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to the post, Microsoft was able to identify new wiper malware (dubbed "FoxBlade") and provided both mitigation strategies and updated Microsoft Defender definitions to the Ukrainian government "within three hours" of discovering it.

Reporting from The New York Times provides additional details of how Microsoft worked with US government agencies to distribute the FoxBlade fixes with other European countries to limit or prevent its potential spread. "I've never seen it work quite this way, or nearly this fast," Microsoft security VP Tom Burt told the Times of FoxBlade's mitigation efforts. "We are doing in hours now what, even a few years ago, would have taken weeks or months."

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