Microsoft has detected and disrupted Russian-linked hackers that target people and key defense organizations in NATO countries.

The Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center has been tracking the Russian state-sponsored group of hackers since 2017.

The group’s campaigns mainly involve phishing and stealing sensitive emails from entities and people of interest to Moscow.

They use fake online personas to send phishing attachments or collect sensitive information from their targets.

“Such targeting has included the government sector of Ukraine in the months leading up to the invasion by Russia, and organizations involved in supporting roles for the war in Ukraine,” Microsoft said.

While the hackers’ primary targets are the US and other NATO members, they also reportedly have targeted the Baltics, Nordic countries, and Eastern Europe.

Cyberattacks

The ongoing war in Ukraine has seen battles in multiple domains – from land, sea, air, and cyber.

In April, Meta said several groups of hackers linked to Russia and Belarus successfully broke into the Facebook accounts of Ukrainian military officials.

Hackers reportedly pretended to be journalists to push Russian talking points on the platform and run coordinated campaigns to remove posts critical of the Russian government.

Having been detected and disrupted several times, some European heads of military cyber defense forces have said that Moscow has been far less effective than expected in employing digital combat capabilities in their offensive against Kyiv.

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