NATO, Ukraine targeted by Russian hackers

Russian hackers targeted computers used by NATO and the Ukrainian government, according to cyber intelligence firm iSight Partners.

The Dallas-based firm said Russian hackers used an opening in all supported versions of Microsoft Windows and Windows Server 2008 and 2012 to target the NATO and Ukrainian computers, as well as Polish energy firms, European telecommunications firms and at least one U.S. academic institution. 

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The hackers targeted the Ukrainian government and a U.S. organization around the time of the NATO summit hosted by Wales in early September. President Obama criticized Russia’s actions with Ukraine at the time, while NATO members pledged support for Ukraine’s government.

NATO computers were targeted as early as December 2013, iSight said.

The company said that it has monitored the group of hackers, dubbed “Sandworm,” since late last year. Sandworm has been active since about 2009, the intelligence group said.  

The group said it believed the hackers are Russian because of their language and because of the targets they chose.

“It is critical to note that visibility is limited and that there is a potential for broader targeting from this group,” the group noted.

Those affected were notified, according to iSight. 

A Microsoft representative told Reuters the company plans to release an automatic update to the affected versions of Windows on Tuesday.