© 2024 KGOU
Colorful collared lizard a.k.a mountain boomer basking on a sandstone boulder
News and Music for Oklahoma
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Russian Hackers Target Conservative Think Tanks In Latest Cyberattack

A picture taken on October 17, 2016 shows an employee walking behind a glass wall with machine coding symbols at the headquarters of Internet security giant Kaspersky in Moscow.
KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on October 17, 2016 shows an employee walking behind a glass wall with machine coding symbols at the headquarters of Internet security giant Kaspersky in Moscow.

In July, 12 members of the Russian intelligence agency, formerly known as GRU, were indicted for continual efforts to hack Democrats' emails and computer networks during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Now, the agency is preying on a new group: conservative think tanks.

According to a report set for release on Tuesday, Microsoft has identified and seized websites that posed as affiliates of two think tanks — the Hudson Institute and the International Republican Institute. Users who accessed these fraudulent sites forfeited their passwords and other data to the Russian intelligence agency.

Why these think tanks, in particular? According to The Washington Post, they "have broken with President Trump and are seeking continued sanctions against Moscow, exposing oligarchs or pressing for human rights."

Microsoft also detected websites masquerading as the U.S. Senate, which they were able to shut down in their infancy.

Daniel Twining, president of the International Republican Institute, told The Washington Post:

This apparent spear-phishing attempt against the International Republican Institute and other organizations is consistent with the campaign of meddling that the Kremlin has waged against organizations that support democracy and human rights.

It is clearly designed to sow confusion, conflict and fear among those who criticize Mr. Putin's authoritarian regime.

Are these spoofed websites gone for good? And with midterms just three months away, how can tech companies like Microsoft help prevent the next attack?

*Show produced by Stefanie Collett, text by Kathryn Fink*.

GUESTS

Eric Geller, Cybersecurity reporter, Politico;

Eric Rosenbach, Co-Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School; director, The Defending Digital Democracy Project; former Pentagon chief of staff;

For more, visit https://the1a.org.

© 2018 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio.

Copyright 2018 WAMU 88.5

More News
Support nonprofit, public service journalism you trust. Give now.