(Reuters) – Russian government hackers have recently carried out several cyber espionage operations targeting countries allied with Ukraine since the February invasion, Microsoft said in a report on Wednesday, illustrating the extent of Moscow’s ongoing hacking activities.
“The cyber aspects of the ongoing war extend far beyond Ukraine and reflect the unique nature of cyberspace,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith in the report.
Researchers had already traced a series of destructive cyber attacks on Ukrainian units to Russian state-sponsored hacker groups since the conflict began. They have now found that 128 organizations in 42 countries outside Ukraine were also targets of the same groups in sneaky, espionage-focused notches, according to the report.
Many of these recent intrusions were aimed at the United States, Microsoft researchers wrote, but several members of the NATO military alliance ̵1; which has provided critical support to Ukraine in the midst of the conflict – were also affected.
This includes organizations based in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark and Norway, as well as Finland and Sweden, which have expressed their desire to join the NATO alliance in recent months.
“The target appeared to be mostly governments, although it also included think tanks, humanitarian groups and critical infrastructure providers,” the report said.
The Russian embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.