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Microsoft Detects Iranian Hackers Targetting More than 200 Businesses

That's according to a Wall Street Journal report Wednesday that the hacking campaign stole corporate secrets and wiped data from computers.

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FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

Microsoft has detected cyberattacks linked to Iranian hackers that targeted thousands of people at more than 200 companies over the past two years.

That’s according to a Wall Street Journal report Wednesday that the hacking campaign stole corporate secrets and wiped data from computers.

Microsoft told the Journal the cyberattacks affected oil-and-gas companies and makers of heavy machinery in several countries, including Saudi Arabia, Germany, the United Kingdom, India and the U.S., and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

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That’s according to a Wall Street Journal report Wednesday that the hacking campaign stole corporate secrets and wiped data from computers. Pixabay

Microsoft attributed the attacks to a group it calls Holmium, and which other security researchers call APT33. Microsoft says it detected Holmium targeting more than 2,200 people with phishing emails that can install malicious code.

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Iran is denying involvement. Alireza Miryousefi, a spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations, says the allegations are coming from a private company and such reports “are essentially ads, not independent or academic studies, and should be taken at face value.” (VOA)

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US, China Must Shun Individual Interests, Says Microsoft President

According to Smith, the US and China need a bilateral relationship that serves the interests of each country

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FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

At a time when the US and China are at loggerheads over the transfer of technology and cyber security concerns of Huawei’s 5G technology, the two nations need to think not only about their own individual and collective interests but also about what their relationship means for the rest of the world, Microsoft President Brand Smith has emphasized.

The rest of the world – with almost 80 per cent of the global population – is depending on the outcome of their talks, added the Microsoft executive in his book titled “Tools & Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age”.

“If the US and Chinese governments each allege that the other country’s homegrown technology can’t be trusted, there is a risk that the rest of the world will conclude that both are right and turn toward other sources,” Smith noted.

Amid the US-China trade war, a top executive of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei said this week that the US needs to hold talks with the company in order to reach a trade deal with China.

According to the company’s Chief Security Officer Andy Purdy, the trade war between the two is affecting American companies and workers more than it hurts Huawei.

He said the company spent $11 billion on US supplies last year and an estimated 40,000 jobs in the country depend on its business.

According to Smith, “governments should be more circumspect and careful when considering tactics that make a point through criminal prosecutions or other serious legal actions against specific firms of individuals”.

Meng Wangzhou, the Chief Financial Officer of the Chinese telecommunications giant was detained in Canada last December.

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FILE – A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 18, 2017. VOA

The case against Meng was filed amid a broader campaign against the Chinese tech company by the US government, which claims Huawei’s networking equipment poses a national security threat. The company also faces charges in Seattle that it tried to steal trade secrets from T-Mobile.

“Looking beyond 5G, steps to shut out long lists of technology services in many other areas are likely to be both unnecessary and counterproductive.

“It is in the economic self-interest of the world’s two technology leaders to keep most of their technology markets open to others, thereby setting an example for the rest of the world to continue,” Smith asserted.

Working groups from China and the US will meet next week to resume trade talks aimed at putting an end to the ongoing tariff dispute between the two economic superpowers.

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US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that a planned hike from 25 to 30 per cent in duties on certain Chinese imports worth $250 billion that was scheduled to take effect on October 1 would be postponed by 15 days to prevent an escalation in trade tensions before the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

According to Smith, the US and China need a bilateral relationship that serves the interests of each country.

“This requires the continued building of a stronger education and cultural foundation to connect the US and China. Put simply, the world needs a stable relationship between the two countries, including on technology issues,” he wrote. (IANS)