Microsoft blames Russian hackers for ransomware attacks in Poland and Ukraine

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Hackers linked to Russia’s military are likely behind last month’s ransomware attacks against Ukrainian and Polish transport and logistics organizations, Microsoft said on Thursday.

The revelation will raise concerns in Washington and European capitals that allies supporting Ukraine against Russia’s invasion could face greater cyber threats from Moscow.

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Poland is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and a key channel for providing military aid to Ukraine.

The hacks “caused damage” to transport and logistics companies in Poland and Ukraine, a Microsoft spokesperson told CNN 🇧🇷 The extent of the damage was not clear. THE CNN requested more details from Microsoft.

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The company attributed the hacks to a group the Justice Department alleges works on behalf of the Russian military intelligence agency GRU and which caused blackouts in parts of Ukraine in 2015 and 2016.

One of Ukraine’s main cybersecurity agencies, the State Special Communications Service, declined to comment.

It is a rare public example of an alleged war-related Russian hack causing damage in a NATO member country.

During the invasion of Russia in February, another alleged Russian hack erased data from two Ukrainian government contractors with a presence in Latvia and Lithuania, but this was widely seen among analysts as collateral damage rather than deliberate.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said a cyberattack could trigger the organization’s collective defense clause, requiring all members to defend against an attack on another member.

But that never happened, and it’s not clear what exactly the group’s limit in cyberspace is for an answer.

“We have not openly stated what level or damage the cyber attack would have to do,” NATO spokesman Matthias Eichenlaub said in an email. “Any invocation of Article 5 is always a political decision taken by consensus by all Allies.”

The GRU-linked ransomware attacks signal “increased risk to organizations that directly provide or transport humanitarian or military assistance to Ukraine,” researchers at Microsoft, which worked directly with the Ukrainian government to respond to the hacks, said in a statement.

The Russian embassy in Washington, DC, did not respond to a request for comment on Microsoft’s statement. Moscow routinely denies carrying out cyberattacks.

Russian hacker groups carried out a series of cyberattacks during the war against the Ukrainian government and corporate networks in activities that sometimes overlapped with Russian military attacks. But the kind of high-impact hacks that take away power or other critical networks are largely absent.

Russian hacking played a peripheral rather than a central role in the Kremlin’s efforts to dismantle Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, U.S. and Ukrainian officials said earlier CNN 🇧🇷

Source: CNN Brasil

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