Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) each just lately disclosed that they suffered company electronic mail breaches by the hands of Russia’s “Midnight Blizzard” hackers.
The group, which is tied to the Kremlin’s SVR overseas intelligence, is particularly linked to SVR’s APT 29 Cozy Bear, the gang that meddled in america 2016 presidential election, has performed aggressive authorities and company espionage all over the world for years, and was behind the notorious 2021 SolarWinds provide chain assault. Whereas each HP’s and Microsoft’s breaches got here to gentle inside days of one another, the state of affairs primarily illustrates the continued actuality of Midnight Blizzard’s worldwide espionage actions and the lengths it’ll go to to search out weaknesses in organizations’ digital defenses.
“We should not be shocked that Russian intelligence-backed risk actors, and SVR specifically, are concentrating on tech firms like Microsoft and HPE. With organizations that dimension, it could be a a lot larger shock to be taught they weren’t,” says Jake Williams, a former US Nationwide Safety Company hacker and present school member on the Institute for Utilized Community Safety.
HP Enterprise mentioned in a US Securities and Alternate Fee submission posted on Wednesday that Midnight Blizzard gained entry to its “cloud-based electronic mail setting” final yr. The corporate first realized in regards to the state of affairs on December 12, 2023, however mentioned that the assault started in Could 2023. Hackers “accessed and exfiltrated information … from a small proportion of HPE mailboxes belonging to people in our cybersecurity, go-to-market, enterprise segments, and different capabilities,” the corporate wrote within the SEC submitting. HP Enterprise mentioned the breach probably happened as the results of one other incident, found in June 2023, through which Midnight Blizzard additionally accessed and exfiltrated firm “SharePoint” information starting as early as Could 2023. SharePoint is a much-targeted cloud collaboration platform made by Microsoft that integrates with Microsoft 365.
“The accessed information is restricted to info contained within the HPE customers’ electronic mail packing containers,” HP Enterprise spokesperson Adam Bauer informed WIRED in an announcement. “We proceed to analyze and analyze these mailboxes to determine info that would have been accessed and can make applicable notifications as required.”
In the meantime, Microsoft mentioned on Friday that it detected a system intrusion on January 12 tied to a November 2023 breach. The attackers focused and compromised some historic Microsoft system take a look at accounts that then allowed them to entry “a really small proportion of Microsoft company electronic mail accounts, together with members of our senior management staff and staff in our cybersecurity, authorized, and different capabilities.” From there the group was in a position to exfiltrate “some emails and hooked up paperwork.” Microsoft famous in its disclosure that the attackers gave the impression to be in search of details about Microsoft’s investigations and data of Midnight Blizzard itself.
“The assault was not the results of a vulnerability in Microsoft services or products. To this point, there is no such thing as a proof that the risk actor had any entry to buyer environments, manufacturing programs, supply code, or AI programs,” the corporate wrote in its disclosure. “This assault does spotlight the continued threat posed to all organizations from well-resourced nation-state risk actors like Midnight Blizzard.”