Hackers who infiltrated security software provider SolarWinds (SWI) - Get SolarWinds Corp. Report last year have been stepping up attacks against tech companies, resulting in more than 140 cyberattacks this year, including at least 14 breaches where sensitive information was stolen.
“This recent activity is another indicator that Russia is trying to gain long-term, systematic access to a variety of points in the technology supply chain,” Tom Burt, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for customer security and trust, wrote in a blog post provided to the Wall Street Journal by Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report in advance on Monday.
Hackers believed to be linked to Russia’s foreign intelligence service between March and June of last year inserted malware into software updates for SolarWinds’ Orion IT infrastructure management software.
This led to security breaches at the Treasury Department, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Department of Homeland Security and a number of SolarWinds’ corporate clients, including Microsoft.
Security experts have said that the SolarWinds incident was particularly concerning because it showed how a compromise at one widely used link in the technology supply chain could be made into a jumping off point for further attacks.
Microsoft was one of the original alarm bell-ringers of the cyberattack after it found malicious software in its own systems, including ORION IT, which is a cybersecurity defense software made by SolarWinds.
Microsoft noted in a blog post earlier this month that 58% of all cyberattacks observed by Microsoft from nation-states have come from Russia this year ,and that the attacks are increasingly targeting government agencies for intelligence gathering, which jumped from 3% of their targets a year ago to 53%.
The top three countries targeted by Russian nation-state actors were the U.S., Ukraine and the UK.
Shares of SolarWinds were down 0.32% at $18.62. Shares of Microsoft were down 0.73% at $306.91.