In a panel discussion at the Aspen Institute's Security Summit yesterday, Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Customer Security and Trust Tim Burt said that in the course of hunting for phishing domains targeting Microsoft customers, members of Microsoft's security team detected a site set up by Russian actors that was being used in an attempt to target congressional candidates.
"Earlier this year," said Burt, "we did discover that a fake Microsoft domain had been established as the landing page for phishing attacks, and we saw metadata that suggested those phishing attacks were being directed at three candidates who are all standing for election in the midterm elections." While Burt would not disclose who the candidates were, he did say that they "were all people who, because of their positions, might have been interesting from an espionage standpoint as well as an election disruption standpoint."
Microsoft alerted US law enforcement and worked with the government to take down the sites. "We took down that domain and, working with the government, were able to prevent anyone from being infected by that particular attack," Burt said. "They did not get in, they tried, they were not successful, and the government security teams get a lot of credit for that."