Microsoft has announced that it will inform users if their data is hacked through a government-related attack.
The company, which came under fire for not letting people know when their Hotmail accounts were hacked, has now changed its policy to bring it in line with Google and social media sites. The Chinese government had allegedly accessed more than 1,000 Hotmail accounts and now Microsoft wants to help users to protect their personal information.
The corporate VP of the company’s Trustworthy Computing division, Scott Charney, said that users will be notified if their data has been accessed by any group or individual acting on behalf of any government. The reasoning behind this move is that a government-approved attack could be longer-lasting or more sophisticated than an attack carried out by a standard cybercriminal.
The incidents involving the Chinese government started in July 2009 and lasted for more than three years. Accounts that were targeted included those of political leaders, human rights lawyers and other people considered to have a sensitive position in society in China. Microsoft took steps to stop the hacking by patching up the gaps in the security network.
The Chinese government denied being behind the data security leaks and stated that it does not support this type of action. Mr Charney said that Microsoft will not be providing any information about the attackers or how they were able to access the system, as this information could be important to an ongoing investigation.