Cleveland: In line with a relentless cyberattack on Ukraine, state-backed Russian hackers “strategic spying” on governments, think tanks, businesses and aid groups in 42 countries supporting Kyiv. Microsoft said in a report Wednesday.
“Since the war began, Russia’s targeting (of Ukrainian allies) has a 29% chance of success,” wrote Microsoft President Brad Smith. Data was stolen in at least a quarter of successful network intrusions.
“As national coalitions gathered to protect Ukraine, Russian intelligence has stepped up network penetration and espionage for allied governments outside Ukraine,” Smith said.
Almost two-thirds of cyber-spy targets were associated with NATO member states. Poland was second, with the United States as the main target and the main conduit for military aid to Ukraine. In the last two months, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Turkey have strengthened their targets.
A notable exception is Estonia, which states that Microsoft has not detected Russia’s cyber invasion since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
The company acknowledges that Estonia has adopted cloud computing, which makes it easier to detect intruders. Microsoft said it “remains significant collective defense weaknesses” among several other European governments, but did not identify them.
According to a 28-page report, half of the 128 target organizations are government agencies and 12% are non-governmental agencies, usually think tanks or humanitarian groups. Other targets include telecommunications, energy and defense companies.
Microsoft said Ukraine’s cyber defense was “proven to be more powerful” overall than Russia’s capabilities in “a wave of devastating cyberattacks against 48 different Ukrainian institutions and businesses.”
Moscow military hackers are careful not to unleash a devastating data-corruption worm that can spread outside Ukraine, as the NotPetya virus did in 2017.
“Last month, Russian troops began to focus their attacks on the Donbus area, reducing the number of devastating attacks,” the report said. “Ukraine Defense: Early Lessons from Cyber Warfare”.
The company in Redmond, Washington has its own insights in this area due to its ubiquitous software and threat detection team.
Microsoft said Ukraine also sets an example for data protection. One week before Russia’s invasion, Ukraine stored data locally on servers in government buildings, making it vulnerable to aerial attacks, and thus data in the cloud hosted in data centers across Europe. Moved to decentralize.
The report also attracted non-allied people, valuing Russia’s disinformation and propaganda aimed at “weakening Western unity and divert criticism of Russia’s military war crimes.”
Using artificial intelligence tools, Microsoft estimated that “Russia’s cyber-impact operations have succeeded in increasing the spread of Russian propaganda by 216% in Ukraine and 82% in the United States after the war began.” ..