Document Shows Russian Hackers Hit Voter Registration Software Firm

Today’s topics include a leaked report claiming a U.S. voter registration app was hacked by the Russians; Microsoft engineers blocking more than a million hacks a day; Google's release of a new version of its Spinnaker cloud code update platform; and VMware updating vRealize for hybrid cloud management.

The National Security Agency concluded last month that the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, used phishing attacks to likely compromise at least one account at a U.S. election firm, according to a report in The Intercept published on June 5.

The attackers used information gathered from the firm to target 122 local-government organizations, sending Trojan-infected Word documents that used a Visual Basic script to exploit victims who opened them, the report stated.

The documents’ file names suggested their contents had to do with a voter-registration system known as EViD, created by VR Systems of Tallahassee, Florida. Also on June 5, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that a federal contractor has been charged with leaking the classified information to the news publication.

Microsoft's cloud is constantly under attack. While it's no surprise that the Redmond, Wash., technology giant makes a tempting target for cyber-attackers, the scale of the attacks weathered by the company may raise some eyebrows. On a typical day, 1.5 million attempts are made to breach Microsoft's cloud systems, the company revealed June 6.

Keeping attackers at bay are over 3,500 security engineers and Microsoft's Intelligent Security Graph, an artificial intelligence-enabled system that uses machine learning to analyze hundreds of billions of authentications and other security information generated by the company's IT systems.

These statistics aside, the company continues to roll out new features and product enhancements to eliminate security gaps for customers. All told, Microsoft invests $1 billion each year in cloud security.

Google has released a new version of Spinnaker, an open-source software release management platform for deploying application code to the cloud.

Video streaming giant Netflix originally developed the technology to enable continuous delivery of software updates to its hosted applications and services on Amazon's cloud platform.

In 2014 Netflix began working with Google and a couple of other companies to make Spinnaker a multi-cloud platform. Spinnaker 1.0, which Google announced this week, builds on the work that has been put into the technology thus far.

It is a continuous delivery platform that is designed to make it easier for organizations to deliver applications and software code to Google's cloud platform and to cloud services from other providers as well.

VMware said June 6 that it is releasing a series of updates to its vRealize cloud management platform, largely because enterprises are understanding and adopting the hybrid-cloud concept faster than expected.

The vRealize Suite enables users to manage and provision workloads at scale, including computing, network, storage and application services in hybrid cloud environments.

The platform's management capabilities for the software-defined data center and through multiple clouds help customers address three common use cases—intelligent operations, automated IT and DevOps-ready IT—based on thousands of customer engagements.