U.S. organizations were the top target of Russian hacking attempts outside Ukraine, according to Microsoft, but the alleged Russian hacking has spanned 42 countries and a number of sectors that may have valuable information related to the war, from governments to think tanks to humanitarian groups.
It is a reminder of the voracious appetite of Russian cyber operators for strategic information, as the Kremlin is more isolated on the international stage than it has been for decades.
These hacking attempts have successfully penetrated the defense 29% of the time, according to Microsoft; of these successful breaches, a quarter resulted in data stolen from networks.
But it is difficult to measure the “success” of a Russian cyber espionage, and Microsoft said it did not have a full overview of the hacking because some customers stored data on their own systems instead of in Microsoft’s cloud computing infrastructure.
CNN has contacted the Russian embassy in Washington for a comment. Moscow routinely denies hacking allegations.
Various governments have likely stepped up their offensive cyber activities related to the Ukraine war as they seek insights into how the fighting and the global fallout from them.
Cyber Command, the US military’s hacking unit, has conducted a “full range” of offensive, defensive and information operations in support of Ukraine, the commander of the command confirmed this month.