Posted on July 21, 2018 at 12:03 PM
The disclosure of attempts at cyber intrusion targeted at 2018 congressional candidates has been made by a Microsoft executive. This discovery was made during a panel session in the Aspen security forum.
Tom Burt who holds the position of corporate vice president in charge of customer security as well as trust, observed at the panel that the company had uncovered a number of attempts to make use of non-genuine Microsoft domains for the purpose of espionage acts back in the year 2016.
The connection has been made to a certain group which Microsoft calls “Strontium”, these same hackers are said to be responsible for targeting the Democratic National Committee back in the year 2016. They have also been connected the Military Intelligence setup of Russia.
The company is also known to be responsible for bringing down these domains according to Burt, however, similar activity has kept on into the year 2018.
During the earlier part of the year, it was discovered that the non-genuine Microsoft domain had established as serving as the landing page for the Phishing attacks. It was also observed that Metadata which indicated that the said phishing attacks were aimed at certain candidates who were contesting for the mid-term elections.
Burt who made it known that the company made attempts along with the Government of the United State of America to prevent the attacks, shied away from making known the candidates. He, however, made it known that the attempts at Phishing were not successful. It is however not clear if Microsoft did believe that the GRU-connected group had a hand in the 2018 attempt at hacking.
Clarification to this effect has already been sought as at press time.
Who could be Responsible?
The statement by Burt did not, however, identify if the Hackers are indeed Russians. However, he did make it known that reports from analysts indicate that there have been fewer attempts at hacking when compared with 2016. It is a general belief in the security circles that there is indeed a drop in the level of activity of the Russians
Officials of the United States Government have already made it known that the interference in elections by Russia has persisted even until the present moment. This has further increased concerns as regards just how the said activities will have an effect on the soon to come elections.
The Trump Angle
In response to a question as regards, if Russia was still making efforts to meddle in the US elections earlier in the week, President Donald Trump said an emphatic “NO”. This statement is indeed a direct contrast to reports and assessment from security agencies. The response of the President was just a part of a pendulum type back and forth which the White House seems to be engaging over the issue. The White House press Secretary Sarah Sanders has come out to indicate that the president was not trying to get the question answered. She also said that the officials of the administration are of the view that the said threat does exist.