Microsoft’s allegations of a cyber attack by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are dismissed by Russia.
Moscow has dismissed claims that it was involved in a cyber strike that targeted organizations such as the State Department’s international aid agency.
The assertions were dubbed “abstract” by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who predicted that they would have an impact on Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin’s meeting next month.
Microsoft announced that it had found a “malicious email campaign” run by Nobelium, the company it said was responsible for the assault on SolarWinds clients in 2020 that affected US federal agencies.
The attack was connected to the SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service, by US intelligence, and resulted in further deterioration of ties between Russia and the US, as well as tit-for-tat sanctions and diplomatic expulsions.
Nobelium targeted around 3,000 individual accounts across more than 150 organizations in 24 countries, according to Tom Burt, the internet giant’s corporate vice president, who wrote in a blog post on Thursday.
The group was able to acquire access to an email marketing account used by the State Department’s overseas aid agency, USAID, from which it was able to target other groups.
Human rights organizations and organizations critical of Putin were among the targets, according to the New York Times.
The assertion of Moscow’s involvement, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, is “such an abstract statement,” and it’s “like telling us that it appears there is a major threat coming from Microsoft and its software.”
According to the news outlet Tass, he continued, “It would be the same baseless accusation.”
“To answer that question, you need to clarify what groups there are, why they are linked to Russia, who attacked what, what led to it….and how did Microsoft know about it,” Peskov said when asked if the scenario may lead to further escalation of relations between Moscow and Washington.
“You can evaluate the answer if you answer all of these questions.”
When asked if the incident will hinder the Biden-Putin summit slated for June 16 in Geneva, Peskov said, “It doesn’t seem so to us.”
The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said it was “working with the FBI and USAID to better understand the scope of the compromise and assist possible victims,” according to a spokesperson. This is a condensed version of the information.