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Tags: Russia | russian | hackers | attack | emails

Russian Hackers Appear to Carry Out New Attack Through Emails

Russian Hackers Appear to Carry Out New Attack Through Emails
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 28 May 2021 09:22 AM

Hackers linked to Russia’s intelligence organization were able to gain control of an email system used by a State Department agency and then get into computer networks belonging to groups critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The New York Times, in a report on Friday, attributed the information to the Microsoft Corporation.

By breaching the email system used by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the hackers were able to send out genuine-looking emails. Implanted in the emails was a code that would give the hackers unlimited access to the computer systems of the recipients.

"This week we observed cyberattacks by the threat actor Nobelium targeting government agencies, think tanks, consultants, and non-governmental organizations," Tom Burt, a Microsoft vice president said in a company blog. "This wave of attacks targeted approximately 3,000 email accounts at more than 150 different organizations. While organizations in the United States received the largest share of attacks, targeted victims span at least 24 countries. At least a quarter of the targeted organizations were involved in international development, humanitarian, and human rights work.

"Nobelium, originating from Russia, is the same actor behind the attacks on SolarWinds customers in 2020. These attacks appear to be a continuation of multiple efforts by Nobelium to target government agencies involved in foreign policy as part of intelligence gathering efforts."

The earlier hacking campaign, which used U.S. tech company SolarWinds as a springboard to penetrate federal government networks, had  impacted "enterprise networks across federal, state, and local governments, as well as critical infrastructure entities and other private sector organizations," the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) disclosed last year.

Now, the latest attack comes only three weeks before President Joe Biden is set to meet Putin in Geneva.

The two leaders' scheduled meeting is set for June 16.  Their meeting is being tacked on to the end of Biden's first international trip as president when he visits Britain for a meeting of Group of Seven leaders and Brussels for the NATO summit, according to Reuters.

Biden first proposed a summit in a call with Putin in April as his administration prepared to levy sanctions against Russian officials for the second time during the first three months of his presidency.

The Times noted Biden had announced a series of sanctions on Russia for the so-called SolarWinds operation.

And officials say they are investigating the latest attack

A spokesperson for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the Department of Homeland Security told the Times that the agency was "aware of the potential compromise" at the Agency for International Development and that it was "working with the FBI. and USAID to better understand the extent of the compromise and assist potential victims."

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Hackers linked to Russia's intelligence organization were able to gain control of an email system used by a State Department agency and then get into computer networks belonging to groups critical of Russian President...
russian, hackers, attack, emails
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2021-22-28
Friday, 28 May 2021 09:22 AM
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