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Microsoft alerts other organisations of Russia-backed hackers’ threats after email hacking incident | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker | #hacking | #aihp

Microsoft Corporation has issued warnings to organisations, indicating they are targets of the Russian-sponsored group, Midnight Blizzard or Cozy Bear, the same group that hacked into the company’s executives’ emails late last year, Bloomberg reported.

The disclosure came through a blog post by Microsoft’s Threat Intelligence team, stating that the group has been targeting various organisations. Microsoft has initiated notification processes for the targeted entities.

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Midnight Blizzard an Expanding Threat

Recent developments suggest that Midnight Blizzard’s activities extend beyond Microsoft. Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (HPE) reported a breach in its cloud-based email system on January 24, attributing it to the activities of Midnight Blizzard. This signals a broader reach for the hacking group.

In a prior disclosure, Microsoft revealed that the group compromised a “legacy non-production test tenant account” to gain access to a “small number” of email accounts, including those of senior leadership and employees in cybersecurity and legal roles.

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The initial target was information about Midnight Blizzard itself. The investigation later revealed that the compromised email account lacked multifactor authentication, a standard security measure.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), an information technology provider, reported that it was notified on December 12 about a breach by a nation-state hacking group in its email systems. Investigators believe the hackers accessed and infiltrated data starting in May, primarily targeting a small percentage of HPE mailboxes from employees in cybersecurity and other departments.

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Russian Link to Midnight Blizzard

The hackers, identified as Russia’s SVR foreign intelligence agency, gained access to Microsoft by compromising credentials on a “legacy” test account, hinting at outdated code.

The United States government has linked the hacking group, also known as Nobelium, to Russia. This group gained notoriety for breaching SolarWinds Corp. in a massive cyber-espionage campaign against several federal agencies.

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Microsoft highlighted that the recent breach shares a commonality with the SolarWinds hacking campaign, considered “the most sophisticated nation-state attack in history.” The SVR primarily focuses on intelligence-gathering, targeting governments, diplomats, think tanks, and IT service providers in the US and Europe.

The recent activities of Midnight Blizzard further highlight the persistent threat posed by this Russian-linked hacking group.

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