Microsoft Shuts Down Infrastructure of Massive Hacking Operation

( – Microsoft has become a partner with the US government in the fight against foreign hackers and adversaries.

In 2016, the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center began tracking a cyber-spy ring run by a state-backed Chinese hacking group known as Nickel. The group used numerous sophisticated techniques to hack governments, think tanks, and human rights organizations. On Monday, December 6, Microsoft announced it disrupted the hackers after a federal court allowed the tech company to seize 42 websites.

A Virginia federal court permitted Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit to assume control of the US-based websites and redirect their online traffic to the company’s secure servers. Microsoft said it was important to protect its customers as well as future victims while it learns more about how Nickel operates.

Microsoft said that while the takeover of the 42 websites is a good start, it won’t prevent Nickel from conducting other hacking operations. Officials say there is often a link between Nickel’s victims and the Chinese Communist Party’s political interests.

The tech company said its digital crimes unit filed lawsuits, and courts allowed it to take down over 10,000 malicious websites used by hackers. Microsoft added that it blocked the registration of 600,000 additional websites.

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