Microsoft alleges new Russian attacks ahead of midterm elections

ABC News | 8/21/2018 | Staff
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Microsoft has thwarted newly attempted cyberattacks by Russian hackers targeting U.S. political campaigns before the midterm elections, the company alleged Monday.

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The tech behemoth’s Digital Crimes Unit acted on a court order last week, shutting down six fake internet domains operated by hackers associated with the Russian government, the Redmond, Washington-company said in a blog post late Monday.

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“Attackers want their attacks to look as realistic as possible and they therefore create websites and URLs that look like sites their targeted victims would expect to receive email from or visit. The sites involved in last week’s order fit this description,” Microsoft president Brad Smith wrote. “We’re concerned that these and other attempts pose security threats to a broadening array of groups connected with both American political parties in the run-up to the 2018 elections.”

The six domains are among the 84 fake websites Microsoft has shuttered in the past two years associated with a group of hackers that goes by the name Strontium, Fancy Bear and/or APT28, which is associated with the Russian government, the company said.

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The news came less than a month after Microsoft disclosed failed phishing attacks targeting three undisclosed candidates in this year's midterm elections. It did not say who it believed was behind those attacks.

The fake websites in the most recent attempts appeared to mimic domains associated with the conservative nonprofits Hudson Institute and International Republican Institute. The latter has six Republican senators and at least one leading senatorial...
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