Hackers pounce on Windows crack exposed by Google
MICROSOFT has warned that a Windows vulnerability exposed by rival Google was being exploited by a hacking group suspected of cyber attacks on US political institutions.
Hackers that Microsoft researchers call “Strontium” launched a lowvolume spear-phishing campaign aimed at a specific set of people, Windows Group executive vice president Terry Myerson said.
Spear-phishing involves tricking people with personally crafted email messages that get them to click on links or files booby-trapped with malicious code that infects machines, letting hackers steal information or take control.
The vulnerability exposed this week let hackers slip into computers through web-browsing software, eventually installing “back doors” through which they could enter as they please.
Strontium has been described as a sophisticated hacking operation with ties to Russia.
The group is also suspected of involvement in hacks of political parties in the US presidential race.
In a threat report, Microsoft described Strontium as having the markings of being backed by a nation-state.
The US technology titan took aim at Google, saying that a “responsible” member of the industry would have put users first and waited for a patch to be ready before making the vulnerability public.
Google countered that it gave Microsoft seven days to fix the flaw, as per its policy regarding critical flaws, before making it public.
Microsoft described Strontium as a group that usually targets government agencies, diplomatic institutions and military organisations, as well as affiliated private sector organisations such as defence contractors and public policy research institutes. –