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Storm, blizzard & tempest: Microsoft's new weather-themed naming taxonomy for hackers

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Storm, blizzard & tempest: Microsofts new weather-themed naming taxonomy for hackers
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San Francisco: Microsoft has introduced a new naming taxonomy for hackers, in which they will be identified with names inspired by weather conditions.

As one of eight groups used by Microsoft to track cyber-attacks, hackers will now be named after weather events, which include -- storms, typhoons, blizzards, sleet, sandstorm, tempest, tsunami, and flood.

"With the new taxonomy, we intend to bring better context to customers and security researchers that are already confronted with an overwhelming amount of threat intelligence data. It will offer a more organised, memorable, and easy way to reference adversary groups so that organisations can better prioritise threats and protect themselves," Microsoft said in a blogpost.

The new taxonomy will include five key groups, including nation-state actors, financially motivated actors, private sector offensive actors (PSOAs), influence operations, and groups still in development.

For instance, if a new cybersecurity threat is discovered or comes from an unknown source, Microsoft will give it the temporary name 'Storm' and a four-digit number.

Nation-state hackers will be given names based on a specific family of weather conditions, which will reveal where the groups are operating from, according to the company.

Moreover, financially driven hacking groups will be called 'tempest', PSOAs will be called 'tsunamis', and influence operations will be called 'floods'.

"The naming approach we have used previously (Elements, Trees, Volcanoes, and DEVs) has been retired," explains John Lambert, Microsoft's CVP of threat intelligence.

"We have reassigned all existing threat actors to the new taxonomy, and going forward will be using the new threat actor names," he added.

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