Microsoft Security: Perhaps Revenue Does Not Correlate with Providing Security?

February 1, 2021

I want to keep this brief. Microsoft makes money from the sale of security services. “Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: There Is a Big Crisis Right Now for cybersecurity” reports:

For the first time on Tuesday, Microsoft disclosed revenue from its various security offerings as part of its quarterly earnings — $10 billion over the last 12 months. That amounts to a 40% year-over-year jump in the growing security business, making up roughly 7% of the company’s total revenue for the previous year.

Here’s a fascinating passage:

Microsoft itself was also hacked, though no customer data was breached. A Reuters report indicated that, as part of the hack of the National Telecommunications and Information Agency, Microsoft’s Office 365 software was attacked, allowing the intruders to monitor agency emails for months. Microsoft, however, said at the time that it has identified no vulnerabilities in its cloud or Office software.

Er, what?

I don’t want to rain on this financial parade but The Register, a UK online information service, published “Unsecured Azure Blob Exposed 500,000+ Highly confidential Docs from UK Firm’s CRM Customers.” Furthermore, the Microsoft security services did not spot the SolarWinds’ misstep, which appears to have relied upon Microsoft’s much-loved streaming update service. The euphemism of “supply chain” strikes me as a way to short circuit criticism of a series of technologies which are easily exploited by at least one bad actor involved in the more than 12 month undetected breach of core systems at trivial outfits like US government agencies.

Net net: Generating revenue from security does not correlate with delivering securing or engineering core services to prevent breaches. And what about the failure to detect? Nifty, eh?

The February 9, 2021, DarkCyber video program takes a look at another of Microsoft’s remarkable dance steps related to the SolarWinds’ misstep. Do si do, promenade, and roll away to a half sashay! Ouch. Better watch where you put that expensive shoe.

Stephen E Arnold, February 1, 2021


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