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Google criticizes Microsoft’s security shortcomings and provides software discounts to attract potential customers.

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Earlier this week, Google published a new whitepaper titled “A more secure alternative”, in which it heavily criticized Microsoft’s recent security lapses that resulted in sensitive information being stolen from government agents’ email accounts. As the US Cyber Safety Review Board (CSRB) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are scrutinizing Microsoft for poor cybersecurity practices, Google is seeking to attract valuable customers.

In June 2023, the US State Department identified suspicious activity in its Microsoft 365 accounts, with the software giant later determining that the Chinese state-sponsored threat actor known as Storm-0558 accessed and exfiltrated unclassified Exchange Online Outlook data. The incident led to hackers using a previously acquired MSA key to forge tokens to access OWA and Outlook.com, raising questions about how the hackers obtained the key. Both CISA and CSRB published reports criticizing Microsoft’s response to the incident.

Responding to the security concerns, Google positioned its Workspace offering as a more secure alternative to Microsoft’s services. Google also announced a promotional offer where agencies with a minimum of 500 employees can avail the Workspace Enterprise Plus plan at a discounted rate, along with an additional free year if they commit to a three-year subscription. In contrast, Microsoft launched the Secure Future Initiative to address government criticisms, rebuild customer trust, and enhance its cybersecurity efforts.

“Our Secure Future Initiative (SFI) brings together every part of Microsoft to advance cybersecurity protection across our platforms and products, benefiting customers worldwide, including commercial and government enterprises, small businesses, and individuals,” a Microsoft spokesperson told The Register. The initiative aims to collaborate with stakeholders in the cybersecurity community, including signing CISA’s Secure by Design pledge and sharing threat intelligence with the security community.

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