Microsoft Halts Russian Cyber Campaign Attempting to Gather Intel From Politicians

Microsoft stops russian hacking campaign
If you thought that the security breaches during the 2016 presidential election were the end of cybercriminals attempting to influence the American government, think again. On Tuesday, Microsoft exposed a Russian cyber campaign targeting American politicians. The operation sought to gain information on politicians who are critical towards the Kremlin.

Microsoft discovered a spear-phishing campaign targeting American politicians. The operations involved using fake websites posing as legitimate ones in an attempt to gain login credentials from users. The company detected five spoofed sites posing as web portals used by politicians. Two of them included the Hudson Institute and the International Republican Institute. Three were made to appear as if they were associated with the United States Senate.

According to Microsoft, the group behind the campaign is a Kremlin-affiliated hacker group APT28, also known as Fancy Bear or Strontium. The group works under Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate(GRU), the largest foreign intelligence agency in the country. American officials believe APT28 was behind the 2016 Democratic National Committee hack.

It seems the goal of their most recent operation was to gather information on American politicians who are critical of the Russian government. The Hudson Institute and the International Republican Institute were explicitly targeted due to the two conservative think tanks’ unfavourable views towards the Russian Administration.

Microsoft acquired court orders to transfer the fraudulent domains to it’s on servers which granted them the ability to shut them down. Nonetheless, law enforcement agencies should remain extra vigilant during the following weeks. Given that the midterm elections are right around the corner, it is likely we will continue to see more operations similar to this one by foreign entities. It is essential to take the initiative and implement security protocols to ensure the integrity of the election.

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  1. […] political campaigns, journalist, and activists. This operation followed an earlier attempt by a hacker group affiliated with the Russian Government to gain information on American […]

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