Microsoft Reveals Russian Hacking Attempts Ahead Of U.S

The websites were linked to a Russian hacker group most commonly known as Fancy Bear

The websites were linked to a Russian hacker group most commonly known as Fancy Bear

In the most recent case, Microsoft said it has no evidence the fake domains were used in any successful hacking attack, and that it did not know of any specific people who may have been GRU targets in the operation.

The hacking attempts, which targeted two conservative think-tanks, have been described as attempts to "disrupt democracy" itself and to undermine any institution, regardless of political affiliation, that challenges the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Microsoft's latest discovery comes just weeks after the firm said it helped the United States government detect and block Russian hacking attempts on at least three congressional candidates this year.

Microsoft has detected and taken down six fake websites related to political policy and the U.S. Senate created by the Russian hacking group APT28 to steal visitors' information, according to a Tuesday Washington Post report. They included such innocuous domains as senate.group and office365-onedrive.com. Other pages mimicked the US Senate.

The International Republican Institute's mission is focused on building democracy overseas, and the Hudson Institute fosters conversations on national security and foreign policy.

Senator John McCain, Governor Mitt Romney, and Senator Marco Rubio are all on the boards of both think-tanks.

"These domains show a broadening of entities targeted by Strontium's activities".

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Russian hackers infiltrated US power grid; may still be a threat. Another is similar to the domain used by the Hudson Institute, which hosts prominent discussions on topics including cybersecurity, among other important activities. The computer giant said it had also uncovered and seized three other phony domains that were created to look as if they were affiliated with the U.S. Senate.

Microsoft said it had no evidence that the hackers had succeeded in compromising any user credentials before it took control of the malicious sites.

The recent pattern of attacks "mirrors the type of activity we saw prior to the 2016 election in the United States and the 2017 election in France", he added. "It is clearly created to sow confusion, conflict and fear among those who criticize Mr. Putin's authoritarian regime".

Tom Burt, Microsoft's vice president for customer security, said the three candidates were "people who, due to their positions, might have been interesting targets from an espionage standpoint as well as an election disruption standpoint".

"Microsoft has notified both nonprofit organizations", Microsoft wrote in a blog post.

An indictment from USA special counsel Robert Mueller has tied it to Russian's main intelligence agency, known as the GRU, and to the 2016 email hacking of both the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.

Microsoft also said it is offering a new security service to political campaign organizations and to all candidates for federal, state, and local elected offices.

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