Microsoft says Russian hackers targeted U.S. Senate and conservative think tanks

22 August, 2018, 03:03 | Author: Sammy Rose
  • A man is silhouetted as he walks in front of Microsoft logo. Microsoft says it’s uncovered new Russian hacking attempts targeting U.S. political groups ahead of the midterm elections

Two of those targets, the nonprofit International Republican Institute and the Hudson Institute research center, boast widespread esteem among right-leaning thinkers and have often criticized the Kremlin.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected the report from Microsoft earlier in the day.

The Hudson Institute has been critical of Russian Federation in the past, while the International Republican Institute promotes democracy around the world and counts six Republican senators as well as a leading candidate among its directors, Microsoft said. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov cited the lack of detail on the hack, and said it wasn't clear "who the hackers in question are" and how they could distort the United States electoral system.

The hacking attempts, which targeted two conservative think-tanks, have been described as attempts to "disrupt democracy" itself and to undermine any institution, regardless of political affiliation, that challenges the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Whom exactly they are talking about, what is the proof, and on what grounds are they reaching such conclusions?"

Microsoft says it has uncovered new Russian hacking attempts to target US political groups ahead of the USA midterm elections in November.

"Microsoft is playing political games", the source said. They included such innocuous domains as senate.group and office365-onedrive.com.

Another is similar to the domain used by the Hudson Institute, which hosts prominent discussions on topics including cybersecurity.

Three other fake domains were created to look as if they belonged to the U.S. Senate.

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Russian Federation has been accused of meddling with the US elections in 2016 using the internet, with tech giants such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter having been summoned past year to testify before USA legislators over the issue.

Microsoft pointed out that it had no evidence the websites were actually used in any successful attacks before they were transferred.

"It is clearly created to sow confusion, conflict and fear among those who criticise (Vladimir) Putin's authoritarian regime", Twining wrote.

As part of its efforts to combat election meddling, Microsoft launched a new AccountGuard service, which will be available at no cost to candidates running for federal, state, or local office. "An effective response will require even more work to bring people and expertise together from across governments, political parties, campaigns and the tech sector".

Eric Rosenbach, former Pentagon chief of staff and now co-director of Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, applauded Microsoft for quickly announcing its discoveries.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov is denying the allegations and says that Microsoft's statement lacks detail and it wasn't clear "who the hackers in question are" and how they could distort the US electoral system.

In July, a US federal grand jury charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking into the computer networks of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party in 2016.

"We are concerned by the continued activity targeting these and other sites and directed toward elected officials, politicians, political groups and think tanks across the political spectrum in the United States", Smith wrote.

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