Microsoft executive emails hacked by Russian intelligence group, company says

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft


Microsoft mentioned in a Friday regulatory filing {that a} Russian intelligence group accessed a few of the software program maker’s high executives’ electronic mail accounts. Nobelium, the identical group that breached authorities provider SolarWinds in 2020, carried out the assault, which Microsoft detected final week, in accordance with the company.

It is not the primary time Russian hackers have gained entry into Microsoft’s techniques. State-sponsored assaults that can lead to the dissemination of delicate knowledge turns into a better danger during times of armed battle, and Russia’s battle towards Ukraine has been happening for nearly two years now. On Thursday Russia mentioned Ukrainian forces carried out drone strikes in a number of Russian areas.

Microsoft’s announcement comes after new U.S. requirements for disclosing cybersecurity incidents went into impact. A Microsoft spokesperson mentioned that whereas the company doesn’t consider the assault had a cloth affect, it nonetheless needed to honor the spirit of the foundations.

In late November, the group accessed “a legacy non-production take a look at tenant account,” Microsoft’s Security Response Center wrote within the weblog put up. After gaining entry, the group “then used the account’s permissions to entry a really small proportion of Microsoft company electronic mail accounts, together with members of our senior management workforce and workers in our cybersecurity, authorized, and different features, and exfiltrated some emails and hooked up paperwork,” the company unit wrote.

The company’s senior management workforce, together with finance chief Amy Hood and president Brad Smith, commonly meets with CEO Satya Nadella.

Microsoft mentioned it has not discovered indicators that Nobelium had accessed buyer knowledge, manufacturing techniques or proprietary supply code.

The U.S. authorities and Microsoft take into account Nobelium to be a part of the Russian international intelligence service SVR. The hacking group was responsible for one of the prolific breaches in U.S. historical past when it added malicious code to updates to SolarWinds’ Orion software program, which some U.S. government agencies had been utilizing. Microsoft itself was ensnared within the hack.

Nobelium, often known as APT29 or Cozy Bear, is a complicated hacking group that has tried to breach the techniques of U.S. allies and the Department of Defense. Microsoft additionally makes use of the identify Midnight Blizzard to determine Nobelium.

It was additionally implicated alongside one other Russian hacking group within the 2016 breach of the Democratic National Committee’s techniques.

Last 12 months, a vulnerability in Microsoft software program allowed China-aligned hackers to entry the e-mail accounts of senior government officials, together with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, forward of a crucial U.S.-China assembly. The company’s “negligent cybersecurity practices” led to the assault, Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, wrote in a letter to Jen Easterly, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and different federal officers.

“We are persevering with our investigation and can take extra actions based mostly on the outcomes of this investigation and can proceed working with regulation enforcement and applicable regulators,” the Microsoft weblog put up mentioned.

CISA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

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