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Microsoft disrupted attempts by Russian spies targeting US, Ukraine

In a blog post, the tech giant said that a group it nicknamed “Strontium” was using seven internet domains to conduct attacks on Ukrainian institutions as well as government bodies and think tanks in the US and the European Union involved in foreign policy, without identifying any of the targets by name.

Microsoft disrupted attempts by Russian spies targeting US, Ukraine-dnm
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Washington D.C., First Published Apr 8, 2022, 11:33 AM IST

US tech giant Microsoft Corp on Thursday said it had disrupted cyberattacks from Russian military spies targeted at Ukrainian media organisations. The spies were attempting to break into Ukrainian, EU and US targets, according to the company. Microsoft attributes the attacks to a group it calls “Strontium”, reported DW News.

In a blog post, the tech giant said that a group it nicknamed “Strontium” was using seven internet domains to conduct attacks on Ukrainian institutions as well as government bodies and think tanks in the US and the European Union involved in foreign policy, without identifying any of the targets by name.

“We believe Strontium was attempting to establish long-term access to the systems of its targets, provide tactical support for the physical invasion and exfiltrate sensitive information. We have notified Ukraine’s government about the activity we detected and the action we’ve taken,” Microsoft said.

Microsoft said that it was taking legal and technical action to seize control of domains controlled by Strontium, and had obtained a court order that allowed it to take over seven domains on April 6.

Microsoft used a US court order to disable seven internet domains that a hacking group linked with Russian intelligence was using to try to infiltrate Ukrainian media organizations, reported CNN.

The moves reflect US officials’ ongoing concerns about potential Russian retaliatory cyberattacks against US targets and a more aggressive strategy to try to thwart state-backed hacking operations.

The Justice Department revealed Wednesday that it had used a court order to disrupt a network of thousands of hacked computers controlled by another GRU-linked hacking group that could have been used in a cyberattack, reported CNN.

The statement comes as the Russian invasion of Ukraine entered its 44th day amid reports of alleged war crimes committed by invading troops. On Thursday, the UN General Assembly voted to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council over the brutal killings of civilians in Bucha, the second time the UN body has taken such a step.

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