Dec 6, 2021 - Politics & Policy
Microsoft seizes websites from Chinese hacking group
Microsoft announced Monday that it has seized a number of websites that were being used by a China-based hacking firm to carry out cyberattacks in 29 countries, including the U.S.
Why it matters: Microsoft said it believed the sites "were largely being used for intelligence gathering from government agencies, think tanks and human rights organizations."
State of play: By seizing 42 websites, Microsoft successfully disrupted the hacking group's operations in its latest series of cyberattacks, per the New York Times.
- The hacking group, known as Nickel, may carry out future attacks, but for now, "we do believe we have removed a key piece of the infrastructure the group has been relying on for this latest wave of attacks," the company said.
- Microsoft has been tracking Nickel's activities since 2016, and monitoring these specific operations since 2019, per the press release.
- Nickel's "highly sophisticated" attacks often consist of installing inconspicuous malware for allows for data theft and surveillance.
The big picture: Nickel has targeted both public and private sector organizations worldwide, including diplomatic organizations and foreign affairs ministries.
- In July, the Biden administration accused the Chinese government of being behind a hacking campaign against Microsoft, the Times reported.
- In June, FBI director Christopher Wray warned that the cyber threat against the U.S. is, "increasing almost exponentially."