Microsoft has claimed a victory over Russian hackers after the software company allegedly foiled the plan of Russian hackers to infiltrate US political groups.

According to the BBC, In a statement, Microsoft has blamed the Russian 'Fancy Bears' hacking group for the attempted cyber attack which is rumoured to have been politically motivated.

How Microsoft came to save US political organisations

Amongst the targeted American organisations were the International Republican Institute and the Hudson Institute which are both political think-tanks. Alarmingly other allegedly preyed on groups include multiple Senate services and offices, which could have been a disastrous breach for US government officials.

Microsoft has stated that they gained control over six net domains which were attempting to assimilate themselves as true Microsoft sites. Having wrested control of the fake domains from the Russian hackers, they were able to stop the cyber attackers from gaining access to any of the proposed sites whom they were aiming to infiltrate.

The software company is acting on the belief that this would have been the start of a "spear phishing" campaign by the Fancy Bears hackers. This would have meant that, if the group had not been stopped today, US organisations would have been duped into visiting these fake domains which were masquerading at Microsoft sites. Then the hackers would have been able to steal the login details for these sites, allowing them to access sensitive information after doing so.

Why Russian hackers were interested in these groups

A working theory as to why the Russian group targeted these American sites, in particular, is that the two think-tanks involved (the International Republican Institute and the Hudson Institute) were one-time supporters of the Trump administration, but they are now calling for further sanctions against Russia after alleged interference in the 2016 Presidential election.

Therefore, the hackers were attempting to undermine and gain access to the work of these two Russian opponents.

A spokesperson for the International Republican Institute has claimed that these recent cyber attack attempts are consistent with the Kremlin's "campaign of meddling" which it has been pursuing since the 2016 elections.

In a blog post detailing what had happened, Microsoft officials stated that the company had forcibly taken control of Russian phishing domains 12 times in the past two years in order to stop organisations being infiltrated and taken advantage of. Microsoft has also voiced its concern that these latest attacks are part of an attempt by Russian interests to infiltrate a wide range of US political groups in the run-up to the 2018 elections.

In recent times, the United States has charged 12 Russian Intelligence officers with hacking computer networks which had been used by 2016 Presidential candidate Hilary Clinton and the Democratic Party. However, Russia still denies that it has been involved in any cyber attacks or other wrongdoing.