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Microsoft warns of intensified Russian cyber attacks on Ukraine and its partners this winter

05.12.2022, 14:08 De Lellis De Lellis

Russia is intensifying its cyber activities, trying to influence the countries that support Ukraine, Bloomberg reports, cited by Ukrinform.

"Moscow will intensify its cyber efforts to pressure the sources of Ukraine’s military and political support both domestic and foreign," the article says.

Clint Watts, general manager of Microsoft’s digital threat analysis center, urged customers to prepare for more Russian cyber attacks over the winter. 

According to him, alongside almost two months of missile and drone strikes on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, there have been "complementary" cyber attacks on Ukrainian and foreign-based supply chains as well as "cyber-enabled influence operations."

Those efforts are intended to "undermine US, EU, and NATO political support for Ukraine, and to shake the confidence and determination of Ukrainian citizens."

However, Microsoft believes that so far, Russian efforts to amplify popular dissent – for example, over high energy prices and inflation across Europe – have had limited impact, but they "foreshadow what may become broadening tactics during the winter ahead."

Watts stressed that Russian operatives were attempting to boost certain narratives online through state-affiliated media outlets and social media accounts, including efforts to undermine elected officials and democratic institutions.

As IMI reported, on November 10, Microsoft said that hackers linked to Russia's military were very likely behind this October's ransomware attacks on Ukrainian and Polish transportation and logistics organizations.

On April 7, Microsoft said that it had disrupted the attempts of Russian GRU-connected hackers to infiltrate Ukrainian, European, and American facilities.

According to Microsoft's report, just before the invasion, at least six separate Russia-aligned nation-state actors launched more than 237 operations against Ukrainian enterprises and state bodies.

Earlier, Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov said that Microsoft would work together with the Ukrainian government to document war crimes committed by the Russian invaders.

In June, Microsoft President Brad Smith said that amid the Russian troops' full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia's special services were waging a cyber war against Ukraine and the coalition of states that support the Ukrainians. Microsoft detected Russian network intrusion efforts on 128 organizations in 42 countries.

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