Researchers discovered a Russian hacker, who uses the handle Rasputin, has launched cyberattacks against at least 60 organizations, including universities and government agencies.
Rasputin is well-known for attacks against the U.S. Electoral Assistance Commission in December 2016. The hacker reportedly stole the commission’s database and put the information up for sale on a Darknet marketplace.
Researchers claim the hacker has breached the systems of a number of universities, including New York University, Cambridge, Cornell and Oxford. The hacker allegedly hit the state government of Oklahoma, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban and Development and a group of city governments, such as Springfield, Massachusetts and Alexandria, Virginia.
Rasputin has reportedly sold access to all of these compromised systems since December 2016, according to the researchers. The hacker allegedly targets web applications with known vulnerabilities via the SQL injection tool (SQLi).
The researchers claim the Russian hacker targets organizations based on the level of security tool investments and the value of the data held on their vulnerable systems. Rasputin was most likely seeking personally identifiable information to extract from each organization, according to reports.
Website administrators are urged to use coding best practices and to ensure their sites are properly secured to mitigate against this type of attack.