Microsoft seizes websites from Chinese hacking group

·1 min read

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."

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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."

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