Microsoft expands its AccountGuard service to 31 countries
Big tech companies like Microsoft and Google offer advanced account protection services for users that might be at a heightened risk of being hacked or having their personal data compromised, but these are usually only available in certain countries. Microsoft has now announced that it will expand its AccountGuard service to more groups and individuals in 31 countries, including India, at no additional cost.
The company, which was itself targeted during the Solarwinds attacks that were revealed in December, had launched its account protection feature AccountGuard in 2020 before the US Presidential Election. These new protections were actually put in place to stop hackers from impersonating campaign staff, and will likely help five of the new countries it is available in - Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Estonia and the Czech Republic, which all have upcoming elections.
Microsoft says that the AccountGuard users saw an 18 percent improvement in its Microsoft Identity Protection Security Score, which assesses an organisation’s ability to withstand threats. “Based on this successful feedback, we are extending this offering to all eligible AccountGuard customers including human rights organizations, newsrooms and health care organizations in the 31 democracies where AccountGuard is available,” the company announced on its On The Issues blog.
Phishing of users is still one of the most widely used ways to trick a user into entering their password and stealing their credentials, so the company is now providing access to a limited number of YubiKeys to help their high-risk customers with multi-factor account protection, as part of an extended partnership with Yubico.
Groups that can participate in the service, include political campaigns at the national, state, municipal or local level, political party committees at the national or state level, think tanks and democracy advocacy organizations, political technology vendors, and select individuals with Outlook or Hotmail email IDs who are invited to participate by an eligible organisation already enrolled in the program, the company says on its website.