Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Joe Biden in Geneva, Switzerland.
Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images
  • Russia launched a new wave of cyber attacks against the US, a report said.
  • Targets include government agencies, think tanks, and large companies, the NYT reported.
  • Joe Biden confronted Putin after the huge SolarWinds hack in the hope they would stop. 
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Russia launched another massive cyber-attacking operation against the US even after Biden confronted Putin about previous attacks, The New York Times reported Monday.

According to the report, the attacks are ongoing.

Tom Burt, a top Microsoft security executive, said in a statement Sunday that a group of hackers had been linked to some 23,000 attacks this year on more than 600 organisations.

The group had previously been linked to Russia's intelligence services.

Microsoft said the hackers targeted providers of cloud software services, of which they are a prominent example.

It could represents a renewed attempt by Russia to gain access to sensitive information held by government agencies, think tanks, and private corporations, the New York Times said.

Microsoft refers to the group of hackers as Nobellium, but they are more widely known as Cozy Bear, which Dutch intelligence agencies in 2016 identified as a branch of Russia's SVR foreign-intelligence service.

Burt said the group had started focusing its attacks on technology firms that provide and manage internet cloud services.

Microsoft suspects that the group will try to "piggyback" on any access those firms have to other companies' IT systems, and thereby gain access to them as well.

President Joe Biden in January confronted Putin about his government's alleged hacking attempts after US intelligence agencies determined in January that the massive SolarWinds attack last year was "likely Russian in nature."

He repeated his warning in July, telling Putin that the US would take "necessary action" to defend itself from cyber attacks - warnings which appear not to have been heeded.

Government officials told The New York Times that they also think the SVR is responsible for the extensive hacking attempts identified by Microsoft.

Cozy Bear was implicated earlier this year in the SolarWinds hack, a massive operation first detected in December 2020.

The attack allowed the perpetrators to steal highly sensitive information from multiple federal agencies including the Treasury, the departments of State, Homeland Security, Commerce, and Energy, US intelligence agencies said in January.

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