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Two days ago, Microsoft revealed that Russian hackers are attempting to compromise IoT devices including a VOIP, a printer, and a video decoder across multiple locations. These attacks were discovered in April, by security researchers in the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center.

According to the Microsoft report, “These devices became points of ingress from which the actor established a presence on the network and continued looking for further access,” “Once the actor had successfully established access to the network, a simple network scan to look for other insecure devices allowed them to discover and move across the network in search of higher-privileged accounts that would grant access to higher-value data.”

Microsoft officials said, “We attribute the attacks on these customers using three popular IoT devices to an activity group that Microsoft refers to as STRONTIUM,” which is a Russian-based hacking group also known as Fancy Bear or ATP28. “In two of the cases, the passwords for the devices were deployed without changing the default manufacturer’s passwords and in the third instance the latest security update had not been applied to the device,” the officials further added.

“After gaining access to each of the IoT devices, the actor ran tcpdump to sniff network traffic on local subnets. They were also seen enumerating administrative groups to attempt further exploitation,” the officials added. “As the actor moved from one device to another, they would drop a simple shell script to establish persistence on the network which allowed extended access to continue hunting. Analysis of network traffic showed the devices were also communicating with an external command and control (C2) server.”


“Microsoft said it identified and blocked these attacks in their early stages, so its investigators weren’t able to determine what Strontium was trying to steal from the compromised networks,” ZDNet reports.

Microsoft has notified the makers of the targeted devices so that they can explore the possibility of adding new protections. Microsoft’s report also provided IP addresses and scripts that organizations can use to detect if they have also been targeted or infected.

Microsoft plans to reveal more information about the Strontium April 2019 attacks later this week at the Black Hat USA 2019 security conference.

To know more about this news in detail, read Microsoft’s complete report.

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