Published: Wed, August 22, 2018
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Microsoft says it stopped a potential Russian-linked cyber attack

Microsoft says it stopped a potential Russian-linked cyber attack

A United States court order authorised Microsoft to apprehend six domains that the Windows maker said were linked to the APT28 hacking crew, also known as Fancy Bear and Strontium, according to Redmond.

The U.S. Capitol dome in Washington. "The (mid-term U.S.) elections have not happened yet, but there are already allegations". Russian Federation denies meddling in the elections while Trump has denied any collusion.

"And we saw metadata that suggested those phishing attacks were being directed at three candidates who are all standing for election in the midterm elections".

The U.S. Congress is considering measures that would impose more sanctions on Russian Federation if it's found to be meddling in the midterms. Nefarious countries are using the internet to spread disinformation, tamper with voting systems and engineer political divide via social media in a new cyber warfare where the effects may be longer lasting than any "boots on the ground" engagement.

Importantly, these domains show a broadening of entities targeted by Strontium's activities.

Microsoft says it has no evidence any of the seized addresses were actually used in attacks, and that it hasn't identified the actual targets.

Microsoft has argued in court that by setting up fake but realistic-looking domains, the hackers misuse Microsoft trademarks and services to hack into targeted computer networks, install malware, and steal sensitive e-mails and other data. Microsoft said the sites were created over the past several months, and that the company was able to catch them early, as they were being set up.

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The world's biggest software company said late on Monday that it last week took control of six web domains that hackers had created to mimic websites belonging to the Senate and the think tanks.

Some members of the boards include Senator John McCain, Governor Mitt Romney, and Senator Marco Rubio. Both have criticized Trump's interactions with Russia's Vladimir Putin, particularly around a July summit meeting in Helsinki.

Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have called for tough measures against Russian Federation after Trump was seen as too conciliatory toward Putin in Helsinki.

As the Washington Post reports, the Hudson Institute has investigated corruption in Russia, while the IRI promotes democracy around the globe, efforts the Russian government would likely want to undermine. Other domains mimicked the U.S. Senate's offices and service website, and another one tried to pass itself off as an software service for Microsoft Office.

With pre-midterm frenzy heating up, Microsoft said it thwarted a phishing attack by a group "widely associated" with Russian Federation - and despite not providing much hard evidence, used the incident to advertise a new privacy product. While the program's intentions and goals have been vague thusfar, it has provided free cybersecurity-training sessions to the Democratic and Republican national committees.

Microsoft on Tuesday disclosed new intrusions by Russian government-linked hackers on US political groups. It's believed that the infamous "Fancy Bear" group was behind the attacks.

Despite its obvious passion for defending democracy, the software company did not, however, give any update on USA government hacking efforts to "sow discord" or "spread disinformation" in other parts of the world where Microsoft operates. In the face of this continuing activity, we must work on the assumption that these attacks will broaden further.

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