Cyber security firm iSight Partners report Russian hackers took advantage of a bug in Microsoft Windows, which enabled them to spy on NATO, Ukraine, European Union, telecommunication companies, and energy companies.
iSight’s report claimed hackers were actually looking for information on Ukraine’s crisis and certain Western European government officials. The report did not clarify what the hackers found in their search. The Texas-based cybersecurity company has monitored the hacker group since late 2013.
Government may be involved with Russian hackers
John Hulquist, CEO and chairman of iSight Partners believes Russian hackers received support from local government as part of espionage. Although the command server is located in Germany, it stores files in Russian uploaded by hackers. iSight’s technical analyst Drew Robinson suggests Russia is supporting espionage.
The group of Russian hackers, often referred to as the Sandworm Team, prefer the spear-fishing method which targets users with fraudulent emails containing malware. Earlier last month, iSight Partners discovered the phishing attacks used exploitation of the zero-day vulnerability which affected supported Microsoft Windows operating systems including Vista SP2, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2012. Zero-day vulnerability is a loophole in software that the vendor isn’t aware of. Hackers often take the opportunity to exploit the vulnerability before the vendor learns about it and fixes it.
iSight notified those affected by hack
iSight’s report adds, “We immediately notified targeted entities, our clients across multiple government and private sector domains and began working with Microsoft to track this campaign and develop a patch to the zero-day vulnerability.”
At press time, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Russian government decline to comment on the matter.
The recent discovery is just one of the many attacks from Russia and Eastern Europe affecting everyone from around the world. One of the more notable attacks happened last year when European hackers obtained data from major retailer Target. This breach affected 110 million customers.