Microsoft's software is being targeted by Chinese hackers — and they're going after law firms, NGOs, defence contractors and others
Business Insider India
Called "Hafnium," it operates from China and is attacking infectious disease researchers, law firms, higher education institutions, defence contractors, policy think tanks and NGOs in the US for the purpose of exfiltrating information.
"While Hafnium is based in China, it conducts its operations primarily from leased
AdvertisementThe Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) found that "Hafnium" would first gain
"Second, it would create what's called a web shell to control the compromised server remotely. Third, it would use that remote access -- run from the US-based private servers -- to steal data from an organisation's network," Burt said in a statement late on Tuesday.
The company has released security updates to protect customers running Exchange Server, and encourages all Exchange Server customers to apply these updates immediately.
"Exchange Server is primarily used by business customers, and we have no evidence that Hafnium's activities targeted individual consumers or that these exploits impact other Microsoft products," Burt informed.
This is the eighth time in the past 12 months that Microsoft has publicly disclosed nation-state groups targeting institutions critical to civil society.
"Other activity we disclosed has targeted healthcare organisations fighting Covid-19, political campaigns and others involved in the 2020 elections, and high-profile attendees of major policymaking conferences," Burt said.
AdvertisementIn January, Microsoft admitted that alleged Russian hackers behind the massive
Microsoft discovered that its systems were infiltrated "beyond just the presence of malicious SolarWinds code."
According to Burt, the new China-based exploits are "in no way connected to the separate SolarWinds-related attacks".
Advertisement"We continue to see no evidence that the actor behind SolarWinds discovered or exploited any vulnerability in Microsoft products and services," he mentioned.
Nine federal agencies and about 100 private sector companies were compromised as a result of the SolarWinds hack, the
In a wide-spread cyber-attack on US federal agencies and enterprises, hackers also broke into the networks of NASA and the
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