Microsoft: Russian Hackers Exploiting Windows Flaw
The same group is suspected of the attacks on U.S. political groups.
11/01/2016 10:15 pm ET
Robert Galbraith / Reuters
Microsoft Corp said on Tuesday that a hacking group previously linked to the Russian government and U.S. political hacks was behind recent cyber attacks that exploited a newly discovered Windows security flaw.
The software maker said in an advisory on its website there had been a small number of attacks using “spear phishing” emails from a hacking group known Strontium, which is more widely known as “Fancy Bear,” or APT 28. Microsoft did not identify any victims.
Microsoft’s disclosure of the new attacks and the link to Russia came after Washington accused Moscow of launching an unprecedented hacking campaign aimed at disrupting and discrediting the upcoming U.S. election.
The U.S. government last month formally blamed the Russian government for the election-season hacks of Democratic Party emails and their subsequent disclosure via WikiLeaks and other entities. Russia has denied those accusations.
Microsoft said a patch to protect Windows users against the newly discovered threat will be released on Nov. 8, which is Election Day. It was not clear whether the Windows vulnerability had been used in any of the recent U.S. political hacks.
Representatives of the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security could not immediately be reached for comment.
A U.S. intelligence expert on Russian cyber activity said that Fancy Bear primarily works for or on behalf of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, which U.S. intelligence officials have concluded were responsible for hacks of Democratic Party databases and emails.
In spear phishing, an attacker sends targeted messages, typically via email, that exploit known information to trick victims into clicking on malicious links or open tainted attachments.
Microsoft said the attacks exploited a vulnerability in Adobe Systems Inc’s Flash software and one in the Windows operating system.
Adobe released a patch for that vulnerability on Monday, when security researchers with Google went public with details on the attack.
Microsoft chided rival Google for going public with details of the vulnerabilities before it had time to prepare and test a patch to fix them.
“Google’s decision to disclose these vulnerabilities before patches are broadly available and tested is disappointing, and puts customers at increased risk,” Microsoft said.
A Google representative declined to comment on Microsoft’s statement.
Google disclosed the flaw on Monday, following its standing policy of going public seven days after discovering “critical vulnerabilities” that are being actively exploited by hackers.
Google gives software companies 60 days to patch less serious bugs.
(Reporting by Jim Finkle in Boston and Dustin Volz in Washington. Additional reporting by John Walcott in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Jonathan Oatis)=================================================================================================
Another Special Announcement - Tune in to my radio interview, on Rider University's station, www.1077thebronc.com I discuss my recent book, above on "Your Career Is Calling", hosted by Wanda Ellett.
In addition to this blog, Netiquette IQ has a website with great assets which are being added to on a regular basis. I have authored the premiere book on Netiquette, “Netiquette IQ - A Comprehensive Guide to Improve, Enhance and Add Power to Your Email". My new book, “You’re Hired! Super Charge Your Email Skills in 60 Minutes. . . And Get That Job!” has just been published and will be followed by a trilogy of books on Netiquette for young people. You can view my profile, reviews of the book and content excerpts at:
In addition to this blog, I maintain a radio show on BlogtalkRadio online newsletter via paper.li.I have established Netiquette discussion groups with Linkedin and Yahooa member of the International Business Etiquette and Protocol Group and Minding Manners among others. I regularly consult for the Gerson Lehrman Group, a worldwide network of subject matter experts and I have been contributing to the blogs Everything Email and emailmonday . My work has appeared in numerous publications and I have presented to groups such as The Breakfast Club of NJ and PSG of Mercer County, NJ.
I am the president of Tabula Rosa Systems, a “best of breed” reseller of products for communications, email, network management software, security products and professional services. Also, I am the president of Netiquette IQ. We are currently developing an email IQ rating system, Netiquette IQ, which promotes the fundamentals outlined in my book.
Over the past twenty-five years, I have enjoyed a dynamic and successful career and have attained an extensive background in IT and electronic communications by selling and marketing within the information technology marketplace.Anyone who would like to review the book and have it posted on my blog or website, please contact me email@example.com.