Russia poses the biggest nation-state cyber threat, says Microsoft

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  1. Calliers

    Calliers Administrator/Editor Staff Member

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    Beijing-backed hackers caused a crisis after hacking Exchange email servers this year with flaws Microsoft didn't know about, but Microsoft says Russian hackers are far more prolific than those from China, or any other nation.

    "During the past year, 58% of all cyberattacks observed by Microsoft from nation-states have come from Russia," Tom Burt, Microsoft corporate vice president said in a blogpost detailing government-backed hacking over the past year.

    The US and UK blamed the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) for the huge software supply chain attack on US enterprise software vendor, SolarWinds, which affected 18,000 customers including top tech firms and US government agencies. Microsoft, which was also compromised by the hack, calls this group of hackers Nobelium; others call it APT28.

    Microsoft's Burt warned that the past year showed Kremlin-backed hackers are becoming "increasingly effective", with their attacks becoming more successful and driven by spying and intelligence campaigns. Many Russian-attributed attacks targeted enterprise virtual private network (VPN) software.

    "Russian nation-state actors are increasingly targeting government agencies for intelligence gathering, which jumped from 3% of their targets a year ago to 53% -- largely agencies involved in foreign policy, national security or defense," he explained.

    Russia's hacking is primarily motivated by the nation's politics, with the top targets being the United States, Ukraine and the UK, according to Microsoft.

    But other usual suspects also feature in Microsoft's 2021 Digital Defense Report, including Iran and North Korea. A new entrant is Turkey, which has a developed taste for trojans. Notably absent from Microsoft's report is work carried about by Israeli cyber teams. Israel is home to NSO Group, infamous for exploits targeting iPhones.

    Russian state-based hacking was mostly focused on Ukraine. Meanwhile, Israel was targeted increasingly by Iranian hackers.
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    Source: zdnet
     

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