The Latest: FBI aware of hack political found by Microsoft

FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2017, file photo, a man is silhouetted as he walks in front of Microsoft logo at an event in New Delhi, India. Microsoft says it’s uncovered new Russian hacking attempts targeting U.S. political groups ahead of the midterm elections. The company said Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, that a hacking group tied to the Russian government created fake internet domains that appeared to spoof two conservative organizations: the Hudson Institute and the International Republican Institute. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri, File)

The Latest on efforts by Russia to disrupt midterm elections in the U.S. using fake internet domains (all times local):

2 p.m.

The FBI says it's aware of actions taken by Microsoft to take down fake websites that parroted those of U.S. political organizations.

Microsoft on Tuesday blamed a hacking group tied to the Russian government for creating the fake sites that mimicked two American conservative think tanks, as well as websites belonging to the U.S. Senate.

Microsoft says there's no evidence the sites were used for hacking attacks, but it said the same group previously used similar fake sites to infect computers, spy on people and steal sensitive information.

The FBI said Tuesday that it's working to make U.S. tech companies more effective at protecting their platforms.

The agency didn't provide any specifics about Microsoft's discovery or whether it's working with the company to combat the hacking group.

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1:55 p.m.

The Russian Foreign Ministry is calling a new report of ongoing political hacks ahead of the U.S. midterm elections a "witch hunt."

Microsoft on Tuesday disclosed new intrusions by Russian government-linked hackers on U.S. political groups. It said one group created fake websites that appeared to spoof two American conservative organizations.

The ministry said Tuesday that Microsoft lacks any proof of Russian involvement because "there can't be any." It said claims by Microsoft are clearly intended to "demonstrate its loyalty" amid "the witch hunt that has engulfed Washington."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected the report from Microsoft earlier in the day.

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8:30 a.m.

The Kremlin is dismissing new reports that Russia is targeting U.S. political groups through cyberattacks ahead of midterm elections.

Microsoft said Tuesday that it's uncovered new intrusions by Russian government-linked hackers on U.S. political groups. It said one group created fake internet domains that appeared to spoof two American conservative organizations.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov is denying the allegations and says that Microsoft's statement lacks detail and it wasn't clear "who the hackers in question are" and how they could distort the U.S. electoral system.

Microsoft says there is no evidence that the hackers were successful.

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8:15 a.m.

Microsoft is revealing new hacking attempts from Russia targeting U.S. political groups ahead of the midterm elections.

The company said Tuesday that a group tied to the Russian government created fake internet domains that appeared to spoof two American conservative organizations: the Hudson Institute and the International Republican Institute. Three other fake domains were designed to look as if they belonged to the U.S. Senate.

The revelation came just weeks after a similar discovery by Microsoft led Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who is running for re-election, to divulge that Russian hackers tried to infiltrate her Senate computer network, but were unsuccessful.

The hacking attempts mirror similar Russian attacks ahead of the 2016 election, which U.S. intelligence officials have said were focused on helping to elect Republican Donald Trump to the presidency by hurting his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

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