Microsoft has introduced numerous measures to help people through the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdown. From making Microsoft Teams and GitHub Teams features free to extending support of Windows security updates. In its latest move, the company says its AccountGuard cyber protection tool is now also available for free.

AccountGuard was launched in August 2017. Available in Office 365, the service helps Microsoft Account holders running elections campaigns, in political committees, or politician staff. The tool provides more threat monitoring capabilities by regularly monitoring accounts for security breaches.

During its checks, AccountGuard scans attachments for malware, phishing, and failed login attempts. If something is found, a notification is sent to the account holder. If a genuine cyber threat is uncovered, Microsoft provides remediation and ongoing support to stop the threat.

According to Microsoft, several cyberattacks have targeted frontline workers during the COVID-19 outbreak. By using AccountGuard, these vulnerable organizations can better protect themselves.

“Our teams at Microsoft have also detected and responded to attacks targeting the healthcare sector in many countries, and we know they are coming from criminals and multiple nation-states. In addition, our threat intelligence teams have identified nation-state attacks against human rights organizations around the world for some time, both prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Tackling Threats

Microsoft says the free AccountGuard expansion is available to healthcare workers and humanitarian organizations. For the former, the process to sign up is here, while human rights organizations can sign up here.

AccountGuard wad previously a free tool dedicated to political campaigns through Microsoft’s Defending Democracy Program. The company is now extending its availability to healthcare providers and other frontline services.

“Our notifications will help these organizations defend against nation-state attacks, and our AccountGuard advice and training support will help them harden their defenses against all forms of cyberattacks. AccountGuard for Healthcare will be available until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.”