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  • Writer's pictureSteven Burstyn

Microsoft's Anti-Phishing Technology: A New Era of Cybersecurity


In the ever-evolving world of technology, cybersecurity remains a top priority. Microsoft, a leading tech giant, has taken a significant step forward in enhancing its anti-phishing technology in Windows 11. This move is a testament to Microsoft's commitment to providing a secure environment for its users.

Understanding Phishing

Before we delve into the specifics of Microsoft's new features, it's crucial to understand what phishing is. Phishing is a cybercrime where targets are contacted by email, telephone, or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution. The aim is to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords.

Microsoft's Enhanced Phishing Protection

Microsoft has introduced a new feature in Windows 11's Enhanced Phishing Protection that warns users when they copy and paste their Windows password into websites and documents. This feature is designed to protect your Windows and Active Directory domain credentials from being obtained by threat actors.

Threat actors often gain access to websites or corporate networks by purchasing or stealing corporate credentials. These credentials are usually obtained through phishing attacks or information-stealing malware. Once these credentials are stolen, they can be used to access other accounts used by the Windows user, including email accounts, bank accounts, and cryptocurrency trading accounts. In more severe cases, these stolen accounts can be used to access corporate networks, allowing hackers to spread laterally on a network to conduct Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams, data theft, supply chain attacks, and ransomware attacks.

The New Features

With the release of Windows 11 Insider Dev build 23506, Microsoft has enhanced the phishing protection feature by detecting the copy and paste of a user's Windows password. This feature is not enabled by default, so users need to manually turn it on.

Once enabled, this feature will warn users when they type or copy and paste their Windows logon password into website forms or documents. The alert titled "Password reuse is a security risk" warns users to reset their Windows account password, linking to a support document.

Best Practices to Avoid Phishing Attacks

While Microsoft's new features provide an extra layer of security, it's essential to follow best practices to avoid falling victim to phishing attacks:

  1. Be cautious of unsolicited communications: Be wary of any email or text message that you weren't expecting, especially if it asks for personal information.

  2. Check the email address: Phishing emails often come from an address that looks legitimate but may have slight variations.

  3. Don't click on suspicious links: If an email or message includes a link that you weren't expecting, don't click on it. Instead, hover your mouse over the link to see where it leads.

  4. Use two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring two types of identification before you can access your accounts.

  5. Keep your software up to date: Regularly updating your software ensures that you have the latest security patches and updates.

Microsoft's enhanced anti-phishing technology is a significant step forward in cybersecurity. However, it's crucial to remember that technology alone cannot fully protect against phishing attacks. It's equally important to stay informed about the latest phishing techniques and to follow best practices to protect your personal information.

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