Microsoft Corp. warned that a group of hackers linked to the Russian military intelligence agency GRU could be preparing for more ransomware attacks both inside and outside Ukraine.
Microsoft calls the group Iridium, but perhaps better known as Sandworm. He has been accused of attacks on Ukraine’s electrical power grid and government agencies, the 2018 Winter Olympics, and businesses around the world. Now, he appears to be preparing for a destructive campaign, the software company said in a threat intelligence report on Wednesday.
Russian hackers have been accused of bombing Ukrainian institutions with “cleanup malware” and DDoS attacks, a campaign that began even before President Vladimir Putin ordered troops to invade Ukraine more than a year ago. However, Ukraine has largely fended off a major cyber war with the help of foreign technology companies, including Microsoft.
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The ransomware attack against Polish and Ukrainian transport services in October, attributed to Sandworm, may have been “a test” for new attacks, according to the report. Microsoft warned that it was a potential precursor to more Russian attacks beyond Ukraine’s borders.
The attack “tested the international community’s ability to attribute spying operations to Moscow” or the reaction of Ukraine’s allies to a destructive attack directed outside of Ukraine through the deployment of ransomware in the transport system of Poland, Microsoft said.
Sanworm campaigns according to Google
In a February report on cyber threats in Ukraine, Google said that Sandworm’s cyber campaigns, which it calls FrozenBarents, “seem designed to advance Russian strategic objectives and respond to changes in Russian intelligence requirements during the conflict..
The group, which has been active since 2009, targeted a Turkish drone maker, whose systems were used by Ukraine, in the first weeks of the war and targeted sensitive information such as Ukrainian military communications and troop movements, according to Google.
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