The Chinese edition of Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster, reported that Microsoft announced, on December 30, 2015, that it will start notifying users when there is sufficient evidence that government-linked hackers have targeted their email accounts. Microsoft had failed to do so previously when Chinese authorities allegedly compromised over 1,000 Hotmail accounts.
Microsoft’s announcement came after Reuters put in a series of inquiries to Microsoft asking why it had not previously taken the initiative to alert its email users.
Frank Shaw, the Microsoft spokesperson, maintained that Microsoft could not be certain about the source of the breaches. According to two former Microsoft employees, who would not reveal their names, the hacking by elements linked to Chinese authorities started in July 2009 and lasted over three years. The targets included the emails of high-ranking Uighur and Tibetan leaders in multiple countries, Japanese and African diplomats, human rights lawyers, and others in sensitive positions inside China.
Lu Keng, the spokesperson for China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, stated, at China’s December 31 routine press conference, that such rumors were groundless and that channels exist for relevant parties with concrete evidence to communicate constructively with the Chinese side using mutually beneficial cooperation.
Source: Deutsche Welle Chinese, January 1, 2016.