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Anti-Trump Conservatives “in crosshairs” of New Russian Hacking Campaign

News Brief

Microsoft has uncovered what it believes is an attempt by Russian intelligence operatives to undermine conservative American think tanks that oppose President Trump and back continued sanctions against Moscow, according to a report in the New York Times.

The Seattle-based software giant says it has detected and seized websites created in recent weeks by hackers linked to the G.R.U, the Russian military intelligence unit that is believed to have played a lead role in efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. election.

The sites were apparently designed to fool people into thinking they were clicking through links managed by the Hudson Institute and the International Republican Institute. But by doing so, they were secretly redirected to web pages created by the hackers to steal passwords and other credentials.

Microsoft also found websites imitating the United States Senate, but not specific Senate offices or political campaigns.

Revelations of a targeted campaign against these particular think tanks underlines Russian intelligence goals, adds the New York Times: to disrupt any institutions challenging Moscow and President Vladimir Putin.

It comes just weeks since Facebook said it had uncovered an influence campaign on its platform aimed at disrupting the midterm elections in November.