Microsoft: Russia responsible for 58 percent of hacking attacks last year

Russia accounts for 58 percent of state-backed hacking attacks detected by Microsoft last year. That‘s what the US software company says in a new report. The attacks focused primarily on U.S. government agencies and think tanks.

These are cyber attacks that occurred between July 2020 and July this year. After the US, Ukraine, Britain and unnamed European NATO member states were the most frequently targeted.

Last year, a major hacking attack took place via software provider SolarWinds, of which Microsoft and a number of U.S. government agencies fell victim. One of the US agencies that were hit was the agency that manages the US nuclear weapons arsenal. Russia would be behind this too.

That attack was so effective that the total percentage of successful attack attempts by Russian hackers is 32 percent. By comparison, the year before, Russian hackers managed to crack IT systems in 21 percent of cases.

According to Microsoft, China was guilty of less than 10 percent of the total number of attacks last year. But hackers for the Chinese government were successful in 44 percent of their attempts.

USA hacks not reported

State-backed hack focuses on collecting intelligence related to national security. In addition, the report specifically warns of ransomware attacks, where files are ‘hostage‘ by hackers. Companies or institutions have to pay to get their files back.

Hackers who strike on behalf of the US are among the most skilled cyber burglars, according to international news agencies. Microsoft’s report does not further deal with hacking attacks by the U.S. government.