Can Microsoft Protect The King Of Chess From Russian Hackers In The Upcoming World Championship?

There's been a lot of anticipation in the upcoming World Chess Championship. The event that will star on Nov. 11 in New York will pit reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen against the Ukrainian-born challenger Sergey Karjakin. However, Carlsen is worried about a possible Russian hack that might cause his defeat.

Now, the Norwegian Chess Grandmaster is asking for Microsoft Norway's protection. Can Microsoft actually secure the preparation of the king of chess?

Protection From Russian Hackers

Carlsen has grown weary of Russian hack amidst his preparation for an intense 12-game match against Karjakin. According to the Telegraph UK, Carlsen has been using high-powered chess computers for months. He is not playing chess against these computers. Instead, Carlsen utilizes them to come up with moves for the upcoming event.

Carlsen is taking significant measures to prevent any leak of such data. It will be disadvantageous for Carlsen once Russian hackers could get through those computers. All at the cost of the bragging rights of being the World Chess Champion.

Microsoft Norway's Vibeke Hansen told The Telegraph UK that it is critical for all communication during the preparation and the finals completely secure. She added that Carlsen's extreme preparation, like any other players, involves a lot of work, analysis, strategic sparring and computing power. Microsoft wants to ensure that no data will be lost or compromised.

The Russian Threat

It will be a huge advantage for Karjakin to get a hold of Carlsen's possible game strategy. This will give him a bigger chance to beat the World Chess Champion. But such hack may undermine the skills that he already has. However, Karjakin would not mind for Russia to help him.

It should be noted that Karjakin is touted as "the fiercely-patriotic darling of Russian President Vladimir Putin". If Karjakin dethrones Carlsen, Putin would certainly be proud. It is not unfounded that Russia will try to intervene.

Microsoft is definitely aware of that. Google had publicized a critical vulnerability in Windows. Apparently, Microsoft revealed that Russian-linked APT group Fancy Bear is exploiting it. According to the Network World, Fancy Bear is also responsible for the data breaches at the Democratic National Committee. They are believed to be tied to the Russian government.

Just recently, US intelligence officials have disclosed that Russian hackers might try to disrupt the upcoming US Presidential Election. But they ensured that US military hackers are ready to retaliate in case it happens.

Can Microsoft Protect Carlsen?

Russian hackers are as capable as Microsoft. Whether the threat is legit, it will eventually come down to the player's skill to win a game. As for Karjakin, the victory may not be as sweet.


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