Russia is responsible for 58 percent of state-sponsored hacking attacks detected by Microsoft last year. That says the American software company in a new report. The attacks mainly targeted US government agencies and think tanks.
These are cyber attacks that took place between July 2020 and July this year. After the US, Ukraine, Britain and unnamed European NATO member states were the most frequently targeted.
Last year, a major hacking attack via software supplier SolarWinds took place, which victimized Microsoft and a number of US government agencies. One of the US agencies that was hit was the agency that manages the US nuclear arsenal. Russia would also be behind this.
That attack was so effective that the total percentage of successful attack attempts by Russian hackers is 32 percent. In comparison: the year before, Russian hackers managed to crack IT systems in 21 percent of the cases.
China was responsible for less than 10 percent of the total number of attacks last year, according to Microsoft. But hackers for the Chinese government were successful in 44 percent of their attempts.
Hacks by US not reported
State-sponsored hacking focuses on gathering intelligence related to national security. The report also specifically warns against ransomware attacks, in which files are ‘held hostage’ by hackers. Companies or institutions have to pay to get their files back.
Hackers who strike on behalf of the US are among the most skilled cyber intruders, according to international news agencies. The report from the American Microsoft does not further discuss hacking attacks by the American government.