Microsoft detected and helped the US government block Russian hacking attempts against at least three congressional candidates in 2018, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for customer security and trust Tom Burt said at an Aspen Security Forum. The hackers sought to steal the credentials of candidates’ staffers through phishing attacks which landed them at a fake Microsoft domain. According to Microsoft, the fake domains were registered by Fancy Bear or APT 28, a Russia-linked group of hackers. Microsoft took down the fake domain and worked with the government to ensure none of the staffers was infected by the attack.
Cybersecurity is among the main concerns of governments, Internet users, technical and business communities. Cyberthreats and cyberattacks are on the increase, and so is the extent of the financial loss.
Yet, when the Internet was first invented, security was not a concern for the inventors. In fact, the Internet was originally designed for use by a closed circle of (mainly) academics. Communication among its users was open.
Cybersecurity came into sharper focus with the Internet expansion beyond the circle of the Internet pioneers. The Internet reiterated the old truism that technology can be both enabling and threatening. What can be used to the advantage of society can also be used to its disadvantage.
Cyber-attacks can have a background in international relations, or bring about the consequences that can escalate to a political and diplomatic level. An increasing number of states appear to be developing their own cyber-tools for the defense, offence and intelligence related to cyberconflict.
The use of cyber-weapons by states - and, more generally, the behavior of states in cyberspace in relation to maintaining international peace and security - is moving to the top of the international agenda.