Microsoft released a blog with warnings about hacking attempts that have involved around 10,000 customers
According to the blog post by Microsoft, there are 10,000 people who have become victims (been targetted or even compromised) of the nation-state hacking activity throughout the past year. The company claims that all these bad actors are related to foreign governments mostly.
Hackers involved in such activity were found to be located in Russia, North Korea, and Iran. Russian hackers are recognized to come from Yttrium and Strontium groups, crooks from North Korea are known as Thallium, and Iran-located bad actors are found to be related to Holmium and Mercury hacking organizations.
Most of the hacked people were from Microsoft enterprise
Microsoft also claims that state-sponsored hackers have mostly been targeting widely-known businesses and companies, especially the ones using its AccountGuard technology. Having in mind that 84% of the attacks were set against Microsoft and its customers, 16% was directed towards personal emails. All the information based on these hacking attempts has been gathered by the Microsoft Threat Intelligence center which is working on tracking these types of malicious activities:
This data has been compiled by the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center which works every day to track these global threats. We build this intelligence into our security products to protect customers and use it in support of our efforts to disrupt threat actor activities through direct legal action or in collaboration with law enforcement.
However, the company claims that similar cybercrimes are a well-developed weapon nowadays and have been emerging quite often these days.
APT 28 and other hacking groups are involved in the state-sponsored attempts
As we have already mentioned, the technology that brought success in tracking even 781 nation-state hacking activities pointed towards various political parties and worldwide organizations is known as AccountGuard. Even though the exact percent of successful hacks still remains unknown, some hacking groups have been investigated a little bit closer.
The Russian hacker organization, that is known as APT 28 or Fancy Bear, has marked itself while intruding the president election activities three years ago. Another hacking attempt by this group was initiated during the 2018 Winter Olympics when the blame for disrupting the ceremony was put on North Corea.
Other identified groups are listed as APT 35 (Iran) and APT 33 (Iran) which have already left their mark in the hacking history too.
ElectionGuard – a new method to secure the upcoming presidential election in 2020
It seems that Microsoft is very concerned about the ongoing nation-state hacking attempts as another presidential election is upcoming in 2020. The authorities are looking forward to decreasing the risk of similar attacks that might target the United States election process, various political parties, campaigns, and the government itself.
Due to fears of hacking attempts, Microsoft has been trying to increase the security of the voting system and introduced the ElectionGuard – a tool allowing people to vote on the screen of Microsoft Surface or through Xbox Adaptive Controller. The company is looking forward to revealing to society that such products can fulfill safety requirements and be handy in securing voting processes.