Microsoft stands up to Investigatory Powers Bill, will warn users about government-sponsored hacking attempts

Microsoft will now warn you if it reasonably believes that state-sponsored hackers are trying to infiltrate your accounts. The move was brought about through a policy change which followed an embarrassing revelation that Microsoft didn't warn users when hackers sponsored by the Chinese Government tried to infiltrate a large number of Hotmail accounts.

“We’re taking this additional step of specifically letting you know if we have evidence that the attacker may be ‘state-sponsored’ because it is likely that the attack could be more sophisticated or more sustained than attacks from cybercriminals and others," said Microsoft in a statement.

These are the details Government-backed hackers on Twitter want from you

Microsoft also downplayed the fact that it did not inform users about hacking attempts during 2011, choosing to ask them to reset their passwords instead. The Redmond giant maintained that it could not pinpoint the sources of such attacks and that the attacks originated from several countries.

Other large corporations like Facebook, Google and Twitter have also toughened their stance on hacking attempts over the years, choosing to alert their users as soon as they detected any breach.

Recently, Twitter sent alert messages to select individuals who are directly or indirectly related to the anonymous browser Tor which is often used to access the dark web. According to the Telegraph, the list of recipients includes Coldhak, a Canadian non-profit organisation, Noris Fabio, a security researcher and Runa Sandvik, a security adviser.

Twitter could be charged with criminal offence if it tips you about Government snoops

It's possible your account may not have been an intended target of the suspected activity, but we wanted to alert you as soon as possible. We recognize that this may be of particular concern if you choose to Tweet using a pseudonym," said Twitter in the messages in question. Twitter has also suggested affected users to visit and take online security tips from the "Tor Project" or EFF's "Protecting Yourself on Social Networks."

In June, Apple CEO Tim Cook launched a scathing attack at his rivals Facebook and Google, accusing them of building their businesses by compromising users' privacy.

Tim Cook is very pissed off with Facebook and Google

Speaking at an event in Washington DC, Cook said, "I'm speaking to you from Silicon Valley, where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information. They're gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetise it. We think that's wrong. And it's not the kind of company that Apple wants to be."

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