US seizes 2 domain names used in cyberespionage campaign

Tuesday, June 1, 2021 | Eric Tucker, Associated Press


In this April 1, 2014, file photo, the headquarters for the U.S. Agency for International Development is seen in Washington. The state-backed Russian cyber spies behind the SolarWinds hacking campaign launched a targeted spear-phishing assault on U.S. and foreign government agencies and think tanks using an email marketing account of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Microsoft said, late Thursday, May 27, 2021. (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department said Tuesday that it has seized two domain names used in a cyberespionage campaign that targeted U.S. and foreign government agencies, think tanks and humanitarian groups.

The campaign was disclosed last week by Microsoft, which linked it to the same group of Russian intelligence operatives responsible for the massive SolarWinds intrusion that breached federal agencies and private corporations.

The company said over the weekend that it was “still not seeing evidence of any significant number of compromised organizations at this time." The White House on Friday similarly downplayed the cyber assault as “basic phishing,” in which hackers use malware-laden emails to access networks, and said U.S. agencies had largely fended it off.

Still, officials say the U.S. government's action on Friday was aimed at preventing any further exploitation of victims, though the Justice Department also warned that the hackers may have used additional backdoor accesses to get into networks between when the hacking first began and the time that the domains were seized.

“Last week’s action is a continued demonstration of the department’s commitment to proactively disrupt hacking activity prior to the conclusion of a criminal investigation,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers, the Justice Department’s top national security official, said in a statement.

He said the department would "continue to evaluate all possible opportunities to use our unique authorities to act against such threats.”

In the case disclosed last week, hackers gained access to an email marketing account of the U.S. Agency for International Development, and masquerading as the government body, targeted about 3,000 email accounts at more than 150 different organizations.

The company did not say what portion of the attempts may have led to successful intrusions but said that most were blocked by automated systems that marked them as spam.

_____

Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

Featured Article: Learning About the VIX - Volatility Index


7 Hotel Stocks Just Waiting For the Vaccine

Like any group of stocks related to travel and tourism, hotel stocks saw a steep drop in share prices in 2020. The leisure and hospitality sector that once had 15 million employees has lost 4 million jobs since February.

Many major cities will be feeling the ripple effects of the Covid-19 pandemic for years. However, there is ample evidence that shows the pandemic may be coming to an end. The number of new cases is dropping. The number of those getting vaccinated is rising. And even in the cities with the most restrictive mitigation measures, the slow process of reopening is beginning.

All of this can’t come fast enough for individuals who rely on the travel and tourism industry for their livelihood. Hotel chains had at least some revenue coming in the door. And when earnings season concludes, the more budget-friendly hotel chains may realize revenue that is 75% of its 2019 numbers. But that is not enough to bring the hotels to anywhere near full employment. Particularly with hotels that have bars and restaurants that have remained closed or open at limited capacity.

Many economists are optimistic that travel may begin to look more normal by the summer of this year. And the global economy may deliver 6.4% GDP growth this year. With that in mind, the hotel chains with the best fundamentals and the broadest footprint will be in the best position as the economy reopens.

View the "7 Hotel Stocks Just Waiting For the Vaccine".


Companies Mentioned in This Article

CompanyMarketRank™Current PricePrice ChangeDividend YieldP/E RatioConsensus RatingConsensus Price Target
Microsoft (MSFT)2.7$259.43flat0.86%35.34Buy$291.99
Compare These Stocks  Add These Stocks to My Watchlist 

MarketBeat - Stock Market News and Research Tools logo

MarketBeat empowers individual investors to make better trading decisions by providing real-time financial data and objective market analysis. Whether you’re looking for analyst ratings, corporate buybacks, dividends, earnings, economic reports, financials, insider trades, IPOs, SEC filings or stock splits, MarketBeat has the objective information you need to analyze any stock. Learn more about MarketBeat.

MarketBeat is accredited by the Better Business Bureau

© American Consumer News, LLC dba MarketBeat® 2010-2021. All rights reserved.
326 E 8th St #105, Sioux Falls, SD 57103 | U.S. Based Support Team at [email protected] | (844) 978-6257
MarketBeat does not provide personalized financial advice and does not issue recommendations or offers to buy stock or sell any security.

Our Accessibility Statement | Terms of Service | Do Not Sell My Information

© 2021 Market data provided is at least 10-minutes delayed and hosted by Barchart Solutions. Information is provided 'as-is' and solely for informational purposes, not for trading purposes or advice, and is delayed. To see all exchange delays and terms of use please see disclaimer. Fundamental company data provided by Zacks Investment Research.