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As Tanks Rolled Into Ukraine, So Did Malware. Then Microsoft Entered the War.


Ukrainians gathered in a train station in Kyiv to try to leave the city, shortly after the Russian invasion began.

After years of discussions in Washington and in tech circles about the need for public-private partnerships to combat destructive cyberattacks, the war in Ukraine is stress-testing the system.

Credit: Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

Last Wednesday, a few hours before Russian tanks began rolling into Ukraine, alarms went off inside Microsoft's Threat Intelligence Center, warning of a never-before-seen piece of "wiper" malware that appeared aimed at the country's government ministries and financial institutions.

Within three hours, Microsoft threw itself into the middle of a ground war in Europe — from 5,500 miles away. The threat center, north of Seattle, had been on high alert, and it quickly picked apart the malware, named it "FoxBlade" and notified Ukraine's top cyberdefense authority. Within three hours, Microsoft's virus detection systems had been updated to block the code, which erases — "wipes" — data on computers in a network.

From The New York Times
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