Russia has been stepping up its hacking efforts against Ukraine’s allies, including the US, according to Microsoft.
On Wednesday, the company published a report(Opens in a new window) documenting Russia’s malicious cyber activities since the war in Ukraine broke out. So far, Microsoft claims it’s detected Russian state-sponsored hackers trying to infiltrate 128 targets in 42 countries, which have been supporting Ukraine.
49% of the targets were government agencies. The remainder were a combination of think tanks, humanitarian groups and private companies involved in Ukraine’s defense or economic sectors.
According to Microsoft, the goal behind the hacking efforts has been to steal sensitive information from governments that’ve been bolstering Ukraine’s defense against the Kremlin.
“While these targets are spread around the globe, 63% of this observed activity has involved NATO members,” the company added. The US, which is a NATO member, was targeted more than any other country at 12%. Meanwhile, Poland came in second at 8%.
In many cases, the targeted organizations have been able to thwart the hacking attempts, but not in every instance. “Since the start of the war, the Russian targeting we’ve identified has been successful 29% of the time,” wrote(Opens in a new window) Microsoft President Brad Smith in a blog post.
“A quarter of these successful intrusions has led to confirmed exfiltration of an organization’s data, although as explained in the report, this likely understates the degree of Russian success,” he added.
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According to Microsoft, the hacking efforts are part of a Russian campaign to undermine international support for Ukraine’s war effort. The company alleges the Kremlin is also trying to spread disinformation on US and European social media to erode the Western unity backing Ukraine.
As a result, Microsoft is urging the international community to develop a comprehensive strategy that’s designed to counter Russia’s operations across the covert espionage and propaganda realms. “The war in Ukraine provides not only lessons but a call to action for effective measures that will be vital to the protection of democracy’s future,” Smith added.
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