Russian solarwinds hackers launch email attacks on government agencies

May 28, 2021

Russian solarwinds hackers launch email attacks on government agencies

The Russian hackers who launched last year’s major SolarWinds cyberattack have attempted to strike again. Microsoft gave the warning after they discovered evidence of the latest phishing scam. This attack has occurred at an exciting time, considering Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with Vladimir Putin in three weeks.

Details of the Cyberattack

Microsoft published a blog post revealing the details of the cyberattack. The Russian group who is responsible was accountable for the SolarWinds hack last year. The SolarWinds attack gave hackers thousands of company files last December. Russia denied this attack, but they were honored that the United States accused them of a brilliant scam.

The hacking group is known as Nobelium, and they have targeted over 150 organizations globally in the past week.

The type of businesses linked to Nobelium included government agencies, think tanks, and government consultants. They attempted the attack through phishing emails, which are common in today’s world.

The group sent phishing messages to more than 3,000 email accounts with the hope of hacking into their system. The messages were meant to get company leaders to send vital information back to Nobelium. The emails also transported harmful computer software, making the platforms tough to recover.

The investigation is still ongoing. However, a significant amount of information has already been revealed about the scam. Microsoft’s vice president of customer security and trust, Tom Burt, spoke to the media this week and revealed some of the investigation details.

According to Burt, 25% of the organizations were involved in humanitarian causes or international development. He said, “These attacks appear to be a continuation of multiple efforts by Nobelium to target government agencies involved in foreign policy as part of intelligence gathering efforts.”

Targets in the United States

Organizations in 24 countries were targeted, but the United States had the most attacks. This has caused the Kremlin to come under scrutiny because of the upcoming meeting between Biden and Putin on June 16 in Geneva.

The latest attack also comes one month after America confirmed that the SolarWinds attack was carried out by Russian cyber intelligence. The Kremlin denied the allegations, claiming that they do not know anything about the cyberattacks.

However, this has been the narrative for Russia since they started picking on America; once President Biden took office. The Kremlin said Microsoft needs to conduct more research before they accuse Russia of the phishing scam.

The Investigation Revealed

Nobelium accessed a marketing account for the U.S. Agency for International Development to conduct the scam. Burt claimed that they used this address to “distribute phishing emails that looked authentic but included a link that, when clicked, inserted a malicious file.

The malicious file called NativeZone, which can do a variety of harmful things to a device. It can steal data and affect an entire computer network. The email account hacked on a platform through Constant Contact.

A Constant Contact spokesperson stated that they had dismantled the email, and the hackers were unable to get into any other addresses. The investigation is ongoing, and more details should be revealed in the coming days.

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