September 25, 2020

Microsoft finds new Russian attacks against US groups

2 min read

Before the mid-term elections in 2018, the United States discovered a new round of hacking attacks related to the Russian political group. A report released on Monday night said that Microsoft found and banned several fake websites designed to trick visitors into hacking organisations associated with the Russian government to invade their computers. Two of the fake sites mimic the two conservative organisations in the United States—the Hudson Institute and the International Republican Institute. The other three domain names are fake official websites like the Senate.

Microsoft pointed out that the hacking organisation associated with the Russian military is called Strontium, and it also has the nicknames “Fancy Bear” and “APT 28”. A series of events that have taken place in recent years have been inseparable from it, especially the computer network of the National Committee of the Invaders in 2016 and theft of relevant e-mail records.

Although Microsoft has no evidence that fake websites have been successfully received, it is designed to infect visitors’ computers automatically, steal e-mails, documents and other sensitive information, given that such sites typically host malware. Given this, Microsoft immediately applied for a court order to transfer the relevant domain name to the company’s server to offset the threat.

This discovery emphasises that the United States should strive to avoid the recurrence of events during the 2016 election. At the time, the US accused Russia of using the false identity to influence the outcome of the US presidential election through social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. US intelligence agencies warned that such actions have always been part of Russia’s policy strategy. As the influence of social media grows, the future is still severe.

Less than a month ago, US Attorney Robert Mueller sued 12 Russian hackers suspected of attacking the Democratic National Committee network during the 2016 election. In February of this year, the US Department of Justice also sued an Internet research institute linked to Russian intelligence agencies, accusing it of conducting campaigns through social media during the 2016 election.