Russian cyber threat to European elections
March 5, 2019 -- European political institutions are shoring up their defences after predictably being targeted by Russian state-sponsored hackers ahead of elections in May to choose hundreds of new MEPs.
Software giant Microsoft claims it has it has recently found evidence of cyber attacks against employees of the German Council on Foreign Relations, The Aspen Institute in Europe and The German Marshall Fund.
It believes a group it calls Strontium – also known as known as APT28 or Fancy Bear – was behind the hacks. Microsoft and other cyber security firms have evidence that links the group to the Russian government.
From May 23 to 26, 2019, millions of voters across the EU will choose over 700 new Members of European Parliament, but Brussels is concerned about likely online interference from Russia.
Cybersecurity firm FireEye says Fancy Bear is a skilled team of developers collecting intelligence on defence and geopolitical issues — material that could only be useful to a government.
To counter Russian cyber hostilities, Microsoft is expanding its free AccountGuard threat-detection system to political organisations, with Google also offering its Project Shield technology to political parties across the EU. Facebook and Twitter say they are introducing safeguards against the spread of misinformation.