Microsoft Takes Control of 99 Domains Operated By Iranian State Hackers

An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: Court documents unsealed today revealed that Microsoft has been waging a secret battle against a group of Iranian government-sponsored hackers. The OS maker sued and won a restraining order that allowed it to take control of 99 web domains that had been previously owned and operated by a group of Iranian hackers known in cyber-security circles as APT35, Phosphorus, Charming Kitten, and the Ajax Security Team. The domains had been used as part of spear-phishing campaigns aimed at users in the US and across the world.

APT35 hackers had registered these domains to incorporate the names of well-known brands, such as Microsoft, Yahoo, and others. The domains were then used to collect login credentials for users the group had tricked into accessing their sites. The tactic is decades old but is still extremely successful at tricking users into unwittingly disclosing usernames and passwords, even today. Some of the domains Microsoft has confiscated include the likes of outlook-verify.net, yahoo-verify.net, verification-live.com, and myaccount-services.net. Microsoft said it received substantial support from the domain registrars, which transferred the domains over to Microsoft as soon as the company obtained a court order.