Microsoft Blames Russia for Most Nation-State Cyberattacks

Posted on October 7, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud with 9 Comments

In a new report, Microsoft states that Russia is responsible for more nation-state cyberattacks than all other nations combined.

“During the past year, 58 percent of all cyberattacks observed by Microsoft from nation-states have come from Russia,” Microsoft corporate vice president Tom Burt writes. “And attacks from Russian nation-state actors are increasingly effective, jumping from a 21 percent successful compromise rate last year to a 32 percent rate this year.”

According to Microsoft, Russian nation-state actors are increasingly targeting government agencies for intelligence gathering from agencies primarily focused on foreign policy, national security, and defense. This figure jumped from 3 percent of its targets one year ago to 53 percent today. The top three targets of these attacks were the United States, Ukraine, and the UK.

After Russia, the largest volume of cyberattacks came from North Korea, Iran, and then China. Iran quadrupled its attacks on Israel in the past year, North Korea which targeted cryptocurrency companies for profit, and Chinese actors have used a range of previously unidentified vulnerabilities and are “remarkably persistent,” Microsoft says.

The 2021 Microsoft Digital Defense Report covers July 2020 to June 2021, during which time over 20,500 cyberattack attempts were made, and Microsoft notes that its findings cover trends across nation-state activity, cybercrime, supply chain security, hybrid work, and disinformation.

You can view the report for free here.

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Comments (9)

9 responses to “Microsoft Blames Russia for Most Nation-State Cyberattacks”

  1. red.radar

    Well is that not a delightful datapoint to counter the Narritive that the Chinese steel everything.


    Looks like they are #4 on the list.


    or…. They are so clever they make it look like the Russians.

  2. anoldamigauser

    "Who would have guessed that?", said everyone.

  3. mikegalos

    And if you actually read the linked report you'll understand why Microsoft is strictly enforcing TPM and Secure Boot on Windows 11 rather than trusting manufacturers to "do the right thing" on their own.

  4. crunchyfrog

    I have not read the report yet but I wonder where the U.S. falls into these rankings against other countries.

  5. nine54

    "Blames" is an interesting word choice here. "Microsoft report reveals Russia behind most nation-state cyberattacks" would be a little less loaded.

  6. tnthorne

    I believe it. My web site is under attack regularly - and I'm a nobody - so I can only imagine what it must be like for celebrity or government sites. The attacks on my site got so bad I had to ban all Russian IP's. Now the attacks are down to three or four a day, mostly from the Philippines.

  7. ebraiter

    I'm expecting some politician or lacky in Russia who hasn't see his fair share of bribes whine about this and threaten to not buy anything from Microsoft again.

    Probably not much since I'm sure a good chunk of Microsoft software in Russia is pirated anyways.

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