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Russia Poses the Biggest Nation-State Cyber Threat, Says Microsoft

Microsoft’s Digital Defense Report highlights Russia as the biggest threat to the U.S. when it comes to cyber-attacks. The report notes attacks from China, North Korea, and Iran, but says attacks from Russia are far more prolific. Tom Burt, Microsoft corporate vice president, stated “During the past year, 58% of all cyber-attacks observed by Microsoft from nation-states have come from Russia.” Most of the attacks from Russian-backed threat actors come from a group called Nobelium, also known as APT28. The report also indicates Russian nation-state actors’ attacks on US government agencies rose from 3% to 53% over the last year. Microsoft believes the Russian hackers are motivated by the nation’s politics as their primary targets are the US, Ukraine, and the UK.

Analyst Notes

The report shows that from July 2020 to June 2021, China-based threat actors were more focused on critical infrastructure than Russian-based threat actors, who were more interested in intelligence collection. This will continue to be a hot topic for world leaders and governments. President Biden told Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this year that critical infrastructure should be off limits. World leaders have also urged Putin to take more action against known cyber criminals operating within Russia. The U.S. government is currently working on legislature that would boost the US cyber capabilities and defenses.