Russian intelligence agencies have stepped up efforts to hack into US and allied government computer networks to gather intelligence since the start of the war in Ukraine, Microsoft said in new findings released Wednesday.
According to Microsoft, US organizations have been the main target of Russian hacking attempts outside of Ukraine, but the alleged Russian hack has spread to 42 countries and a range of sectors that may hold valuable information related to the war, from governments to think tanks to humanitarian groups.
This is reminiscent of the voracious appetite of Russian cyber operators for strategic information, as the Kremlin is more isolated on the international stage than it has been in decades.
These hacking attempts succeeded in penetrating defenses 29% of the time, according to Microsoft. Of these successful breaches, a quarter resulted in the theft of data from the networks.
But measuring the “success” of Russian cyber espionage is difficult, and Microsoft said it didn’t have a full view of the hack because some customers were storing data on their own systems rather than in cloud infrastructure. computing from Microsoft.
CNN has contacted the Russian Embassy in Washington for comment. Moscow regularly denies the hacking charges.
Various governments have likely ramped up their offensive cyber activities related to the war in Ukraine as they seek to understand how the fighting and its global fallout.
Cyber Command, the US Army’s computer hacking unit, conducted a “full range” of offensive, defensive and information operations in support of Ukraine, the command chief confirmed this month -this.
China has also trained some of its highly skilled hackers on war-related targets in Ukraine, according to cybersecurity researchers. According to cybersecurity firm Secureworks, suspected Chinese hackers tried to break into computers linked to officials in the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk, near the Chinese border.