NEW YORK — Microsoft provides personal and professional email tied to massive operating systems favoured by more than half of US desktop users. It employs more than 200,000 people and is a leader in artificial intelligence.
But what's one thing the US$3 trillion (S$4.02 trillion) technology company can't do? Stop Russian hackers. A Friday night disclosure from the company run by Satya Nadella hints at the geopolitical risk of being a gatekeeper of valuable Americans' information.
The company disclosed in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission that an attack by a Russian-sponsored hacker known as Midnight Blizzard had tapped into systems and accessed senior leaderships' email. Last year Microsoft implemented an initiative to beef up cybersecurity. But it said the incident "highlighted the urgent need to move even faster."
In its filing, Microsoft acknowledged the delicate balance between security and business risk while recognising the sophistication of hacks. It even said that new security measures might cause disruption to "existing business processes."
And yet it's possible investors haven't caught up to the fact. The company's shares, having risen 75 per cent in the past three years, were flat on Monday morning. Microsoft pinpointed its hackers. All other questions are left unanswered.