Microsoft says Iranian hackers targeted conference attendees

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Microsoft says Iranian hackers have masqueraded as conference organizers in Germany and Saudi Arabia in an attempt to break into the email accounts of “high-level” people with fraudulent invitations. The tech company said on Wednesday it detected attempts by the hacking group it calls Phosphorus to deceive former government officials, policy experts and academics.

Targets included more than 100 prominent people invited by hackers to the Munich Security Conference, which world leaders attend every February, and the upcoming Think 20 Summit, which begins later this week in Saudi Arabia but is online only. this year. “We believe that Phosphorus is engaging in these attacks for intelligence gathering purposes,” said Tom Burt, Microsoft’s chief security officer, in a prepared statement. “The attacks have successfully compromised several victims, including former ambassadors and other high-level political experts who help shape global agendas and foreign policies in their respective countries.” Microsoft has not identified the nationality of those targeted. He said the activity was unrelated to the upcoming US election.

Wednesday’s announcement refers to the hacker group as an “Iranian actor” but does not explicitly link it to the Iranian government. Microsoft calls it Phosphorus, while others call it APT35 or Charming Kitten. The Redmond, Wash., Tech company has been following the group since 2013 and has previously accused them of attempting to snoop on activists, journalists, political dissidents, defense industry workers and others in the Middle East.

Cyber ​​security researchers said the group typically tried to infiltrate a target’s personal online accounts and computer networks by tricking them into clicking a link to a target. site Compromised web or opening a malicious attachment.

News Highlights:

  • The tech company said on Wednesday it had detected attempts by the hacking group it calls Phosphorus to deceive former government officials, policy experts and academics. Targets included more than 100 prominent people invited by hackers to the Munich Security Conference, which world leaders attend every February, and the upcoming Think 20 Summit, which begins later this week in Saudi Arabia but is online only. this year.
  • Microsoft claims Iranian hackers have targeted conference attendees
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