(ConservativePeak.com)- Microsoft announced on Thursday that hackers from Iran, China and Russia have all initiated hacking attempts on organizations and people who are involved in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
In a post on its website, Microsoft wrote:
“The activity we are announcing today makes clear that foreign activity groups have stepped up their efforts targeting the 2020 election.”
One of the groups identified is the same one from Russia that U.S. prosecutors have said was primarily responsible for the 2016 attacks on the presidential campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. This hacking group recently targeted state and national parties in the United States, as well as consultants who work for both Democrats and Republicans.
The tactics by this Russian hacking group have apparently evolved a lot since 2016, Microsoft said. They now include what are known as “brute force” attacks that are automated.
This Russian group alone targeted more than 200 organizations, many of whom “are directly or indirectly affiliated with the upcoming U.S. election as well as political and policy-related organizations in Europe.
Microsoft didn’t specify how many different people and/or organizations were targeted by the hacking groups from Iran or China. However, the company did reveal that hackers from China targeted the campaign of Democrat Joe Biden as well as someone formerly associated with the administration of President Donald Trump.
As Microsoft said:
“What we’ve seen is consistent with previous attack patterns that not only target candidates and campaign staffers but also those who they consult on key issues.”
Microsoft sent alerts to the people and organizations that were targeted by the hacking attempts. Microsoft also briefed U.S. intelligence officials on the situation.
A source in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) commented to CNN that:
“The private sector plays a crucial role in the whole-of-society effort to safeguard our elections and national security. We welcome their assistance and will continue partnering with them to combat foreign efforts to target political candidates, campaigns and others involved in the U.S. elections.”
Just last month, one of the top election security officials within the U.S. intelligence community released a statement that said China “prefers” Trump loses the election, and the same goes for Iran. At the same time, the official said Russia is actively working to “denigrate” the campaign of Democrat Joe Biden.
An official with the Biden campaign said:
“We are aware of reports from Microsoft that a foreign actor has made unsuccessful attempts to access the non-campaign email accounts of individuals affiliated with the campaign. We have known from the beginning of our campaign that we would be subject to such attacks and we are prepared for them. Biden for President takes cybersecurity seriously. We will remain vigilant against these threats and will ensure that the campaign’s assets are secured.”
Thea McDonald, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign, said Thursday:
“As President Trump’s re-election campaign, we are a large target, so it is not surprising to see malicious activity directed at the campaign or our staff. We work closely with our partners, Microsoft and others, to mitigate these threats. We take cybersecurity very seriously and do not publicly comment on our efforts.”