A Microsoft report claims that Russian government hackers have stepped up their cyber attacks against the nations backing Ukraine in its war with Russia, including the United States.
"The cyber aspects of the current war extend far beyond Ukraine and reflect the unique nature of cyberspace," Microsoft President Brad Smith said in the report.
According to Microsoft, more than 40 countries — including North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members Denmark and Norway and prospective members Finland and Sweden — have been targeted for online attacks over the last four months, coinciding with Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
The targeted nations are primarily NATO members that have pledged billions of dollars' worth of military support to Ukraine, according to the Microsoft report.
"As a coalition of countries has come together to defend Ukraine, Russian intelligence agencies have stepped up their network penetration and espionage activities targeting governments outside Ukraine," the report reads.
Russia likely wants to collect potentially sensitive information about the governments backing Ukraine, according to the Microsoft report.
The U.S. has accounted for 12% of Russia's global cyber attacks — the highest percentage of any NATO member. In all, according to the Microsoft report, 62% of the Russian-linked cyber intrusions involved NATO members.
Also, according to the Washington Examiner, one-third of the attacks "appeared successful in compromising targets, and a quarter of the attacks lead to stolen data."
According to a Reuters report, the Russian embassy in Washington did not respond to interview requests.
In the past, however, Moscow has denied conducting foreign cyber espionage missions, saying it "contradicts the principles of Russian foreign policy."
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