Six websites created by hackers linked to Russia’s military, hinting at possible foreign interference ahead of November’s United States midterm elections, were shut down by Microsoft.
Two Republican think-tanks, the International Republican Institute and the Hudson Institute, were specifically targeted by the sites closed last week, according to a Microsoft statement.
“We’re concerned that these and other attempts pose security threats to a broadening array of groups connected with both American political parties in the run-up to the 2018 elections,” the statement read.
According to a report published in The Hill, the false sites were created by “Fancy Bear,” a group linked to the Russian Intelligence agency GRU that was also behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 2016.
“The domains were altered to appear similar to its own services in an attempt to possibly trick U.S. users into providing their personal information to hackers,” the statement added.
However, Russia’s foreign ministry denounced Microsoft’s accusations, and termed it “witch-hunting.”
“It is regrettable that a large international company, which has been working in the Russian market for a long time, quite actively and successfully, has to take part in a witch-hunt that has engulfed Washington,” a statement published in Al Jazeera read.