Heritage Foundation Think Tank Targeted in Cyberattack

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Key Takeaways

  • Heritage Foundation is investigating the extent of the raid.
  • The group was the subject of a cyberstrike nine years ago.
  • State-backed hackers have been known to target similar organizations.

The Heritage Foundation has confirmed it was the target of a cyberattack this week.

The US conservative think tank has not yet established the full extent of the hit or if any data has been stolen but efforts are underway to establish the facts.

Following a report by Politico (subscription required), a Heritage spokesperson said the organization shut down its systems to “prevent any further malicious activity” while it investigated.

The Heritage Foundation says its mission is to formulate and promote public policies based on classic conservative principles of freedom, limited government, and strong national defense. Founded in 1973 and based in Washington DC, the organization remains an influential voice in Republican politics and affairs. 

Heritage was the subject of a previous cyberattack in 2015 that extracted emails as well as personal details relating to some of its donors.

Given their links to government departments and policymakers, entities such as Heritage are frequent targets of nation-state-backed hackers because of the value to be gained from stolen data. 

Amid ongoing geopolitical tensions, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recently said Russian-sponsored actors had used their access to Microsoft’s internal systems to steal US government emails

The warning on this incident comes as Microsoft continues to tussle with the hackers, thought to be the same Midnight Blizzard group. The tech giant released a statement in March detailing its latest efforts to protect and defend itself against the persistent threat.