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Hackers working for the Russian government have been using printers, video decoders, and other so-called Internet-of-things devices as a beachhead to penetrate targeted computer networks, Microsoft officials warned on Monday.

“These devices became points of ingress from which the actor established a presence on the network and continued looking for further access,” officials with the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center wrote in a post. “Once the actor had successfully established access to the network, a simple network scan to look for other insecure devices allowed them to discover and move across the network in search of higher-privileged accounts that would grant access to higher-value data.”

The officials continued:

"After gaining access to each of the IoT devices, the actor ran tcpdump to sniff network traffic on local subnets. They were also seen enumerating administrative groups to attempt further exploitation. As the actor moved from one device to another, they would drop a simple shell script to establish persistence on the network which allowed extended access to continue hunting. Analysis of network traffic showed the devices were also communicating with an external command and control (C2) server."