Microsoft: Russian hacker victims in 24 countries

US IT giant Microsoft says a group originating in Russia launched cyberattacks on government agencies and other organizations in at least 24 countries including the United States.

In a statement updated on Friday, Microsoft said more than 150 organizations, including government agencies and think tanks, were victims of the recent wave of cyberattacks.

The hackers targeted approximately 3,000 email accounts by gaining access to an email marketing account used by the United States Agency for International Development, and launching phishing attacks on other organizations. A link in the emails, when clicked, inserted a malicious file that allowed data to be stolen and infected other computers on a network.

Microsoft identified the group behind the cyberattacks as Nobelium, which was also behind last year's attacks on the US State Department and other organizations.

Microsoft is calling on customers to be careful "not to click on links in email, unless you can confirm reliability to minimize the risk of being phished."