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Microsoft on Thursday disclosed that the threat actor behind the SolarWinds supply chain hack returned to the threat landscape to target government agencies, think tanks, consultants, and non-governmental organizations located across 24 countries, including the U.S.

Some of the entities that were singled out include the U.S. Atlantic Council, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Action Center (ANTAC), the EU DisinfoLab, and the Government of Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs.

“This wave of attacks targeted approximately 3,000 email accounts at more than 150 different organizations,” Tom Burt, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for Customer Security and Trust, said. “At least a quarter of the targeted organizations were involved in international development, humanitarian, and human rights work.”

Microsoft attributed the ongoing intrusions to the Russian threat actor it tracks as Nobelium, and by the wider cybersecurity community under the monikers APT29, UNC2452 (FireEye), SolarStorm (Unit 42), StellarParticle (Crowdstrike), Dark Halo (Volexity), and Iron Ritual (Secureworks).

The latest wave in a series of intrusions is said to have begun on Jan. 28, 2021, before reaching a new level of escalation on May 25. The attacks leveraged a legitimate mass-mailing service called Constant Contact to conceal its malicious activity and masquerade as USAID, a U.S.-based development organization, for a wide-scale phishing campaign that distributed phishing emails to a variety of organizations and industry verticals.

images from Hacker News