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Microsoft says Russia is mostly to blame for state-sponsored hacking attempts

The nation’s hackers are getting better too, with an improved 32 percent success rate.

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In case you were unaware, Russia is a big fan of state-sponsored hacking. Thanks to Microsoft’s annual Digital Defense Report, we now know just how much the Russian government enjoys its hacking.

According to a new report from The Associated Press, Russia is responsible for a whopping 58 percent of all state-sponsored hacks that were picked up by Microsoft’s systems during the company’s last fiscal year (ending June 30).

Included in the 58 percent of hacks were mostly attacks on government agencies and think tanks in the United States, Ukraine, Britain, and European NATO members, with the majority of Russia’s focus being on the United States.

Russia has also improved its hacking success rate to 32 percent, a major improvement over the 21 percent success rate the year before. Interestingly enough, China was only responsible for about 10 percent of state-sponsored hacks that Microsoft found, though its success rate was unmatched at 44 percent.

Microsoft also warned of the growing threat that comes from ransomware attacks and how they are evolving.

Where ransomware used to rely on automated attacks and large volumes of victims, they are now becoming more human-operated. Hackers are now able to study intelligence gained from online sources to find specific targets so that they can set higher ransom demands.

Microsoft warns that Russia’s improved success rate over the last year “could portend more high-impact compromises in the year ahead.”

Russia was found to be responsible for last year’s attack on SolarWinds, an IT infrastructure with customers like Microsoft, government agencies, and nuclear projects. That seems like a pretty high-impact compromise to me, so it’s kind of scary to think about what could come in the future.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at

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