Microsoft Reveals New Russian Hacking Attempts

WASHINGTON — For the second time in six months, Microsoft publicly announced that it detected what appeared to be Russian intelligence agents attempting to hack into think-tank organizations that have been critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian regime.

The tech company revealed on Tuesday night that more than 100 of its accounts were targeted. The accounts in question belonged to European employees of three think tanks: the German Council on Foreign Relations, the Aspen Institute affiliates in Europe and the German Marshall Fund. Microsoft said the attacks took the form of spear-phishing — deceptive email messages that appear to be legitimate and dupe the recipient into revealing passwords or other sensitive data.

During the 2016 election, Russian hackers allegedly spear-phished John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, gaining access to his Gmail account. WikiLeaks later published thousands of Podesta’s private emails in the run-up to election day. A grand jury convened by Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian agents in July 2018 for hacking Podesta’s email account, among other crimes.

Microsoft said it was continuing to investigate this latest wave of cyberattacks, which occurred between September and December 2018, but added it was “confident that many of them originated from a group we call Strontium.” Strontium is a name used for the hacking team also known as APT28 and Fancy Bear, which is part of Russia’s military intelligence service. ..Read More..

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