Russian Operation Targeting US Political Institutions: Microsoft
San Francisco: A group affiliated with the Russian government created phony versions of six websites, including some related to the US Senate, with an aim to hack into the computers of people who were tricked into visiting, according to Microsoft.
Microsoft on Monday night said that it has discovered and disabled the fake sites, reports The Washington Post. The effort by the notorious APT28 hacking group, which has been publicly linked to a Russian intelligence agency and actively interfered in the American 2016 presidential election, underscores the aggressive role Russian operatives are playing ahead of the midterm congressional elections in the US. APT28 specialises in information warfare or hacking and disinformation operations. "APT" refers to "advanced persistent threat" in cybersecurity circles. US officials have repeatedly warned that the November vote is a major focus for interference efforts. Microsoft said the sites were created over the past several months but did not go into more specifics.
Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit, which is responsible for the company's response to email phishing schemes, took the lead role in finding and disabling the sites, and the company is launching an effort to provide expanded cybersecurity protection for campaigns and election agencies that use Microsoft products. Among those targeted were the Hudson Institute, a conservative Washington think-tank active in investigations of corruption in Russia, and the International Republican Institute (IRI), a non-profit group that promotes democracy worldwide. (IANS)