Microsoft Shares Lessons from Russia, Ukraine Conflict

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Information & Technology

Microsoft Shares Lessons from Russia, Ukraine Conflict

Microsoft reports on lessons learned during the first four months of the Russia and Ukraine cyber war. Russia has been observed to increase intelligence activities against Ukrainian allies with the goal to collect sensitive information from NATO and Western powers. Microsoft stated, "we’ve detected Russian network intrusion efforts on 128 organizations in 42 countries outside Ukraine. While the United States has been Russia’s number one target, this activity has also prioritized Poland, where much of the logistical delivery of military and humanitarian assistance is being coordinated." Based on the verticals targeted, government entities have been the main priority accounting for 49% percent of the target scope. Other industries targeted include think tanks, humanitarian organizations, information technology, energy, defense, non-governmental organizations, and other critical infrastructure entities. Microsoft identified cyber influence as a significant priority as well, "Russian agencies are focusing their cyber influence operations on four distinct audiences. They are targeting the Russian population with the goal of sustaining support for the war effort. They are targeting the Ukrainian population with the goal of undermining confidence in the country’s willingness and ability to withstand Russian attacks. They are targeting American and European populations with the goal of undermining Western unity and deflecting criticism of Russian military war crimes. And they are starting to target populations in nonaligned countries, potentially in part to sustain their support at the United Nations and in other venues." While Microsoft has estimated a 29% success rate in Russian attacks, the company emphasizes this value to "understates" true numbers. Additionally, Russia's launch of destructive malware has often directly coincided with kinetic military operations.

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