Microsoft identifies hackers linked to foreign countries such as Russia, China, and Iran, who are attempting to infiltrate both President Donald Trump’s and Joe Biden’s campaign camps.
In general, Microsoft highlights that both U.S. presidential campaigns are at risk from global “digital spies,” per Reuters. Accordingly, these hackers have already attempted infiltrating a few people tied to both the Republican and Democrats campaigns.
Microsoft says Russian, Chinese, and Iranian hackers targeting 2020 election https://t.co/vD1Ii8LkKS
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) September 11, 2020
Russian hackers: a familiar face
Microsoft warns of the same Russian hackers who “intervened” during the 2016 Presidential elections. According to Tom Burt, the VP for customer security at Microsoft, it is the same group that was responsible for the hacking of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Moreover, this group is wildly known as Fancy Bear. It is a “Russian military intelligence-linked unit.” In Burt’s statement, he identifies the group as “Strontium.”
It turns out, this group has spent the past year trying to ” break into accounts belonging to political consultants serving both Republicans and Democrats as well as advocacy organizations and think tanks.”
An excerpt fo Burt’s report reads:
“Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) has observed a series of attacks conducted by Strontium between September 2019 and today. Similar to what we observed in 2016, Strontium is launching campaigns to harvest people’s log-in credentials or compromise their accounts, presumably to aid in intelligence gathering or disruption operations. Many of Strontium’s targets in this campaign, which has affected more than 200 organizations in total, are directly or indirectly affiliated with the upcoming U.S. election as well as political and policy-related organizations in Europe.”
Chinese hackers targeting Biden’s campaign
On the other hand, hackers from China are identified by Burt as Zirconium. They’ve attacked high-profile individuals who have relations to the election.
This includes people that are part of the “Joe Biden for President campaign.” Aside from Biden other prominent leaders who are associated with the “international affairs community” have also been targeted.
Accordingly, there are “150 compromises” already detected by Microsoft, between the month of March and September this year.
Iranian hackers unsuccessfully attempt
Meanwhile, the Iranian hackers, or Phosphorus, according to Burt, have “unsuccessfully attempted” to break into the accounts of Trump’s campaign staff and of his administration officials.
Microsoft had already taken previous legal action against this group from Iran. The tech giant has already taken control of over 155 Phosphorus domains.
Hackers detrimental to the U.S. election process
According to The Guardian, a consensus among cybersecurity experts believe that the “Russian interference” is the “gravest” threat to the integrity of the election.
According to intelligence officials, the Russian government was “attempting to undermine the Democratic candidate,” at the time it was Hillary Clinton, during the 2016 elections.
It also allegedly boosted Trump’s “chances of winning,” to which he eventually did win. Although Trump has since disputed the said Russian interference.
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