Microsoft has discovered that democratic institutions, think tanks and non-profit organizations in Europe have all been hacked . Precisely for this reason, the software giant has decided to offer a cyber security solution to protect European countries from these cyber attacks. This discovery comes at a very delicate time for Europe. In a few months, in fact, there will be the European elections whose outcome will depend on the political line that will take the Old Continent in the coming years. This explains why these attacks are being intensified which aim to weaken the institutions.
The attacks would have occurred between September and December 2018 and involved the Aspen Institute, the German Foreign Relations Council and the German Marshall Fund. Microsoft said it had discovered hacks through the Threat Intelligence Center and the Digital Crimes Unit . Overall, the attacks targeted 104 employee accounts in Belgium, France, Germany, Poland, Romania and Serbia. In most cases, hackers created malicious links and fake email addresses that seem legitimate, with the goal of gaining access to employee credentials and then inoculating malware.
Microsoft has said that many of the attacks come from a group called ” Strontium ” that the company has previously associated with the Russian government. Strontium, one of the world’s oldest cyber espionage groups, has also been called APT 28, Fancy Bear, Sofancy and Pawn Storm by a number of security companies and government officials. The CrowdStrike security group said the group could be associated with the Russian military intelligence agency GRU .
Microsoft said it will offer its AccountGuard IT security service to 12 European countries including Germany, France and Spain. The AccountGuard service will also be available in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal and Slovakia.
The move by Microsoft highlights the growing effort of big companies like Facebook and Twitter to stop the spread of misinformation.