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Microsoft extends its cyber security protection across Europe ahead of upcoming elections

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By Rachael Kennedy
Microsoft extends its cyber security protection across Europe ahead of upcoming elections
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Microsoft has revealed its plans to help in the fight against hacking and disinformation ahead of the upcoming European Parliament elections, saying it would extend its cyber security protection across 12 new markets in Europe.

Microsoft AccountGuard, the company's cyber protection service, has already been rolled out in Canada, Ireland, the UK and the US, but the decision to extend across more of Europe was made following other attacks on public institutions during election periods.

"These attacks are not limited to campaigns themselves but often extend to think tanks and non-profit organisations working on topics related to democracy, electoral integrity, and public policy and that are often in contact with government officials," Microsoft said in a statement on Wednesday.

"For example, Microsoft has recently detected attacks targeting employees of the German Council on Foreign Relations and European offices of The Aspen Institute and The German Marshall Fund."

The recent attacks, which took place over a period of four months at the end of last year, were believed to have been carried out by the Strontium hacker group.

Strontium, which is also known as Fancy Bear of APT28, has also been linked to Russia.

While Microsoft said it understood its responsibility in fighting against hacking and influencing campaigns, it stressed that it "cannot solve this problem alone."

Twitter also announced on Tuesday its commitment to fighting disinformation ahead of the European elections in May, promising to be more transparent about political ads purchased on-site.