Microsoft Claims To Have Seized 99 Iranian Websites Used By Hackers
Microsoft stated that 99 websites which were being misused by Iranian hackers have been seized by the company. Reportedly, the hackers were trying to phish/steal important information and launch cyber-attacks on users. With the increase in the number of malicious websites and webpages, browsing the internet has become significantly more difficult. Sensitive data is being poached from the users, while at the same time, companies seem to be helpless as countless such websites keep popping up every day.
Microsoft said that it had eyes on a similar set of websites since 2013, which were being operated by hackers for negative intent. The company has previously tried to snoop on defence industry workers, political activists and journalists in the Middle East. Microsoft tied the attacks to the country of Iran, not to its Government. Furthermore, Iran has fully denied any participation in hacking attacks made by the aforementioned hackers.
Microsoft also stated that the hackers used malicious links disguised like popular brands, such as Microsoft and its subsidiaries, LinkedIn, Outlook etc. As per the company’s court filings, the hacking operation required patience, skill and deep access to resources to pull off. The software that was used by hackers modified the Microsoft Windows trademark system into “a tool of deception and theft”.
Noteworthy, the accounts that were being targeted by the users were personal accounts, not work based accounts. The hackers used to send surprisingly legitimate-looking emails with malware-infected attachments to users who would then click on them and have the respective software injected on their devices. The domains used by the hackers closely resembled the ones used by Microsoft and other reputed brands.
The US District Court, which handled Microsoft’s case regarding the same, believed the company’s allegations, saying that the hacking activity was indeed affecting the company and its users. Steps being taken by the US Court may ensure that the hacking group receives serious penalties for the attacks performed.