Microsoft Offers Free Security Service Suite to U.S. Political Groups

Today’s topics include Microsoft shutting down Russian disinformation sites and launching free security services for U.S. political organizations, and Microsoft moving Bing to .NET Core 2.1 for enhanced performance. 

Microsoft President Brad Smith announced Aug. 21 that Microsoft shut down six disinformation and spoofing internet domains operated by the Russian cyber-espionage group Strontium, also known as APT28 and Fancy Bear.

The six domains were attempts to spoof the Hudson Institute and the International Republican Institute, as well as several U.S. Senate web domains. While domains were aimed at Republicans, the group has also targeted Democrats, including the now well-known attack on the Democratic National Committee in 2016. 

According to Smith, these six shut-downs represent the 12th time Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit has done this in the past two years, shutting down a total of 84 fake websites associated with the Russian Strontium group. 

The number and seriousness of such attacks have also prompted Microsoft to launch its new AccountGuard service, a suite of free security services for organizations involved in the U.S. political process. 

Microsoft announced Aug. 20 that will now run on .NET Core 2.1, which is an upgrade from the .NET Framework it ran on previously. engineer Mukul Sabharwal stated that "The main reasons driving's adoption of .NET Core are performance, support for side-by-side, and app-local installation independent of the machine-wide installation.” 

Since the transition, latency within the Microsoft Bing internal production servers has dropped by 34 percent. The use of .NET Core 2.1 also now brings Brotli compression algorithm support to the .NET library ecosystem, which dynamically compresses content and delivers it to supporting browsers. 

The search engine runs on thousands of servers spanning many data centers across the globe, handling thousands of search queries from users every second around the world.