For the second time in six months, Microsoft has identified a Russian government-affiliated operation targeting prominent think tanks that have been critical of Russia, the company said in a blog post Tuesday evening.
The “spear-phishing” attacks — in which hackers send out phony emails intended to trick people into visiting websites that look authentic but in fact enable them to infiltrate their victims’ corporate computer systems — were tied to the APT28 hacking group, a unit of Russian military intelligence that interfered in the 2016 U.S. election. The group targeted more than 100 European employees of the German Marshall Fund, the Aspen Institute Germany, and the German Council on Foreign Relations, influential groups that focus on transatlantic policy issues.
The attacks, which took place during the last three months of 2018, come ahead of European parliamentary elections in May. They highlight a continuously aggressive campaign by Russian operatives to undermine democratic institutions in countries they see as adversaries. [Continue reading…]