Tom Burke, Vladimir Putin, Tamara Keith discussed on Weekend Edition Saturday


Joining us today. We learned this week that thousands of accounts had 150 different humanitarian organizations were reached. In an attack that was first disclosed by Microsoft. Dina Temple Raston of NPR's investigations team has been tracking the recent Russian hacking operations and join Justina. Thanks for being with us, you're welcome and What can you tell us about what happened? So Microsoft Cybercrimes team found these hackers and they were in the systems of a group of international development organizations on what they think happened is that the hackers broke into an email marketing company that U S. A. I D was using a company called Constant Contact. And once the hackers had broken in, they sent fishing me emails out to other organizations. But those emails looked like they were coming from U S. A. I D And when people got those emails and clicked on the links inside of them, unbeknownst to them, they were installing malware on their networks. And the malware essentially allowed the hackers to read their e mails to steal information and even plant more malware. We should mention the constant contact is one of NPR's funders. Tina. Do we know who's behind the hack? Well, yes, I talked to Tom Burke yesterday. He's the vice president of customer security and trusted Microsoft. And he told us that it's pretty clear These hackers were linked to the Russian intelligence service, known as the SPR Curious. The association with the SVR comes from what the techniques we see them using, and from the kinds of targets that they are targeting. So it's a collection of circumstantial evidence. You might say that point in a consistent direction, and he says they think that actually was a subset of the Russian group that hacked solar winds. They're also known as a PT 29 or cozy Bear, and Microsoft thinks this because they saw a lot of the techniques and code that they saw in this new hack seemed overlap with things that cozy Barry done in the past. And they didn't want to say unequivocally that it's the exact same people that hacked solar winds. Maybe it's a subset, but what they're not equivocating about is that this hack came from Russia. And Scott. The reason that's important is because it's yet another indication that nation state actor was involved your average cyber criminal. They don't target these kinds of institutions, and they certainly don't take the time to tailor their malware like they did in this case. Do you know in a world in which hacks have now become everyday occurrences? How significant is this particular hack? The hack isn't such a big deal. Microsoft appears to have spotted this one pretty quickly, but it's the context in which it arrives. That's really important. After the major solar winds breach, president Biden told the Russians to stop and he took some real steps, he launched sanctions. More sanctions, even expelled diplomats and that doesn't seem to have been enough. And well, this hack isn't nearly as sophisticated as the solar winds hack. It's the same kind is something called a supply chain attack. So that means that the hackers didn't directly target the company's heir institutions they were interested in, but instead they focused on suppliers, finding a company's sort of further down the chain. And now here we are, with the same group from Russia launching yet another supply chain attack and president Biden is scheduled to mate with Vladimir Putin in June. How does this hack play and any discussions that they might have? Well, that's the big question. I mean, what will the U s response be President Biden has already warned Russia not to do these supply chain hacks. And now like a finger in his eye, they've launched another one so The question really is whether this is going to force the U. S to respond in some way. In a temple Raston of NPR's investigations unit. Thank you so much. You're welcome. Vice President Kamila Harris became the first woman to deliver commencement address at the U. S. Naval Academy. Remarks yesterday laid a lot of responsibility to be to the graduate, saying they will be among those defending this country from new threats, including cyber attacks. NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith reports. To a stadium of vaccinated midshipmen in.

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