Microsoft finds new Russian effort to hack United States political groups

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Other false domains were used to look like real websites used by the U.S. Senate and Microsoft's Office software, the company said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected the report from Microsoft earlier in the day.

The Hudson Institute is known for its investigations into corruption in Russian Federation, while the focus of the International Republican Institute is to promote democracy worldwide.

"I think you need to establish structures of deterrence so that our adversaries who have conducted cyber-operations against us or who are contemplating it come to understand they will pay a much higher price if they do that than if they simply refrain", Bolton said.

Microsoft said it's taking action to stem potential threats that could mar the key midterm elections in November.

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Microsoft Corp. announced on Tuesday morning that Russian intelligence personnel recently tried to hack and steal data from conservative American political organizations.

Nevertheless, memories are fresh from Russian interference in the previous round of national elections, which the the USA intelligence community has concluded were aimed at boosting Donald Trump's bid for the presidency.

Casting such allegations as part of an anti-Russian campaign created to justify new sanctions on Russia, it says it wants to improve, not worsen ties with Washington.

Russian attempts to launch cyber-attacks against USA conservative groups have been thwarted, Microsoft says.

"Taken together, this pattern mirrors the type of activity we saw prior to the 2016 election in the United States and the 2017 election in France".

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In the latest example, Strontium also established a trio of domains that carried the "senate" keyword, and one that appeared to be from Microsoft's own Office365 suite of cloud software. Another is similar to the domain used by the Hudson Institute, which hosts prominent discussions on topics including cybersecurity, among other important activities. Other domains appear to reference the U.S. Senate but are not specific to particular offices.

While the same kinds of attacks were used in 2016 to influence the outcome of the USA presidential election via spear phishing-which is used to steal confidential information-this time, it's apparently an attempt to disrupt democracy and sow discord and hatred between our citizens. Microsoft said it's found no evidence so far that the half-dozen domains in the latest case were employed in successful attacks, nor who any intended targets may have been. "It is clearly created to sow confusion, conflict and fear among those who criticize Mr. Putin's authoritarian regime".

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov is denying the allegations and says that Microsoft's statement lacks detail and it wasn't clear "who the hackers in question are" and how they could distort the USA electoral system.

The targets, Microsoft said, included the International Republican Institute.

A USA federal grand jury indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers in July on charges of hacking Democratic Party computer networks in an attempt to sway the 2016 US presidential election, and some USA officials have said Moscow could try to interfere with the USA midterm elections in November. In the face of this continuing activity, we must work on the assumption that these attacks will broaden further. The company said it will alert organizations when a staff member's account has been compromised by hackers working for a foreign government.

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