The US has accused Russia of being behind the recent cyber attack that compromised the Texas-based company SolarWinds software. Hackers, allegedly, inserted malicious code into an updated version of the software, called Orion. And this has had a sweeping effect, the scale of which keeps growing as new information emerges.
Various reports highlight that a Russian intelligence agency reportedly carried out a sophisticated attack that struck several US federal agencies and private companies, including Microsoft. Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, said on the Mark Levin show, “I think it’s the case that now However, Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out that the anonymous sources, cited by the US media, are American officials and intelligence agencies, who previously pushed groundless accusations against Moscow following the 2016 presidential elections.
Brad Smith, Microsoft’s chief legal counsel, said the company had uncovered 40 customers, including government agencies, thinktanks, NGOs and IT companies, who were targeted more precisely and compromised after the hackers gained initial access earlier this year. Smith said other countries like Canada and Mexico in North America, Belgium, Spain and the United Kingdom in Europe, Israel and the UAE in the Middle East were affected. He said the attack represented a broad and successful espionage-based assault on both the confidential information of the US government and the tech tools used by firms to protect them.
Reports highlight that the hackers’ intention appears to have been a high end espionage operation, designed to steal government and military secrets. Moreover, its being stated that the US National Nuclear Security Administration, which maintains the country’s nuclear weapons stockpile, had evidence that hackers accessed its networks. “This is not ‘espionage as usual, even in the digital age. Instead, it represents an act of recklessness that created a serious technological vulnerability for the United States and the world,” Smith observed.
Microsoft called on the incoming Biden administration to improve cybersecurity intelligence-sharing across governments and with allies.