Microsoft joins Apple and SAP in suspending sales in Russia

4 Mar 2022

Image: © Peter/Stock.adobe.com

The US company has also been playing a key role in managing the cyberthreat Russia’s war presents.

Microsoft will suspend all new sales of its products and services in Russia due to the country’s attacks on Ukraine.

The company behind Windows and the Office suite of enterprise software is also coordinating with governments of the US, UK and European Union to further halt its operations in Russia in compliance with international sanctions.

Future Human

“Like the rest of the world, we are horrified, angered and saddened by the images and news coming from the war in Ukraine and condemn this unjustified, unprovoked and unlawful invasion by Russia,” wrote Microsoft president Brad Smith in a blog published today (4 March).

“We believe we are most effective in aiding Ukraine when we take concrete steps in coordination with the decisions being made by these governments and we will take additional steps as this situation continues to evolve.”

Apple and SAP have also halted sales of their products and services in Russia, while Google has stopped its ad sales. Other tech companies such as Meta, Twitter and Reddit have cracked down on Russian state media and misinformation, while Airbnb has pledged to house 100,000 refugees.

Microsoft tackles Russian cyberthreat

To date, Microsoft has played a key role in mitigating the cyberthreat that Russia’s war presents.

Even as Russian forces amassed on the border with Ukraine, the US company warned of a “destructive malware operation targeting multiple organisations in Ukraine” and flagged this activity as an “elevated risk”.

In the hours prior to the invasion of Ukraine, Microsoft’s Threat Intelligence Centre notified Ukrainian authorities of a wiper malware targeting its government and financial institutions. It shared details of this malware with other nations allied with Ukraine and fearful of Russian-led cyberattacks.

Smith said today that this work from Microsoft’s cybersecurity experts has been the company’s “single most impactful area of work”. Since attacks began, Microsoft has acted against Russian targeting of more than 20 government, IT and financial institutions and several civilian sites in Ukraine.

“We continue to work proactively to help cybersecurity officials in Ukraine defend against Russian attacks, including most recently a cyberattack against a major Ukrainian broadcaster,” said Smith.

Microsoft has also committed to providing technology and financial support for agencies dealing with refugees. This includes defending these organisations from cyberattacks.

A Proofpoint report earlier this week revealed that Belarus may be funding cyberattacks to deliberately disrupt efforts to manage refugees fleeing Ukraine.

Some of Microsoft’s own employees in Ukraine “have needed to flee for their lives or safety”, according to Smith.

“Like so many others, we stand with Ukraine in calling for the restoration of peace, respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and the protection of its people,” he said.

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Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com