Microsoft to fix Windows flaw exploited by Russian hackers

Microsoft has said it will release a patch next Tuesday to address vulnerabilities in its Windows operating system that have been exploited by a group reportedly tied to the Russian government and the Democratic National Committee email scandal.

The group, dubbed Strontium by Microsoft, has been tied to Russian state-sponsored hacking. Government agencies have said that this group was behind attempts to intefere with this year’s US presidential election and have targeted them along with diplomatic insititutions, military organisations along with other bodies. 

In a blog post, Microsoft’s executive vice-president of Windows and devices group, Terry Myerson said: “Strontium frequently uses compromised email accounts from one victim to send malicious emails to a second victim, and will persistently pursue specific targets for months until they are successful in compromising the victims’ computer.

“Once inside, Strontium moves laterally throughout the victim network, entrenches itself as deeply as possible to guarantee persistent access, and steals sensitive information.”

He did not directly link the group with the Russian government, but said that it has targeted "a specific set of customers."

According to computer security company CrowdStrike, Strontium is another name for Russian intellegence-affiliated group Fancy Bear. 

Microsoft has said that a patch to fix the exploit will be released on Tuesday November 8. "Patches for all versions of Windows are now being tested by many industry participants," said Myerson.

This patch doesn’t ensure complete securithy for the OS however. "At this point, they’ve probably got others that they could deploy if they’ve got a target that’s sufficiently important," said Adam Meyers, vice-president of intelligence at CrowdStrike.

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