Nearly 250 organizations, including U.S. and Israeli defense technology companies and Persian Gulf port-based organizations, have been targeted by suspected Iran-linked threat actors in a spying campaign that commenced in July, which has already led to successful breaches of "less than 20" of the firms and could increase follow-on hacking attempt risk for others, CNN reports.
Microsoft said that some of the attackers' targets were entities providing satellite systems, "military-grade radars," and drones to the U.S., Israeli and European Union.
"Gaining access to commercial satellite imagery and proprietary shipping plans and logs could help Iran compensate for its developing satellite program," said Microsoft researchers.
The cyberattack has been discovered by Microsoft when it responded to a breach involving a U.S.-based financial services company this summer, according to Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center Head John Lambert.
"Given Iran's past cyber and military attacks against shipping and maritime targets, Microsoft believes this activity increases the risk to companies in these sectors," Microsoft said.