As Election Day approaches, Microsoft reports, hackers working for Russia , China, and Iran have just increased their attacks on the US presidential campaign.
In a blog post published Thursday, Microsoft’s vice president for consumer protection and trust, Mr Tom Burt, has just experienced a spike in hackers attacking campaigns from the company’s network security specialists.
“In recent weeks, Microsoft has detected cyberattacks targeting people and organizations involved in the upcoming Presidential election,” he wrote.
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Microsoft has extensive insight into the systems that hackers use to conduct attacks, being the organization behind the Windows operating system and Office application series. The news is that the presidential race is already moving into the final two months, with national security agents and private firms on the brink of manipulating Russia’s elections in 2016.
Although hackers from all three countries were spotted attacking people linked to campaigns by Biden and Trump, Russia’s GRU, its military intelligence service, remains the greater threat, said John Hultquist, Mandiant ‘s director of intelligence research.
“We remain most concerned by Russian military intelligence, who we believe poses the greatest threat to the democratic process,” Hultquist text message reads.
“The GRU has carried out many of the most brash and aggressive cyber operations to ever come to light,” said Hultquist, like the hack-and-leak operations of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and French President Emmanual Macron’s 2017 campaign.
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Russia has threatened more than 200 groups, all of which were part of the U.S. election or European politics in some way, including advisors to all major U.S. parties and think tanks, Burt said.
One recent goal was SKDKnickerbocker, a consultancy company that partners for the Biden campaign in Washington. Reuters announced Thursday that Microsoft recently warned the company that Russian intelligence has sent phishing emails to the company, which also tries to intercept login information that can provide access to private documents or networks. Microsoft declined to comment on this topic and SKDKnickerbocker did not respond to a comment request.
Though Microsoft finds no clear evidence that Chinese hackers are after more than campaign information, it has “indirectly and unsuccessfully attacked the campaign for President Joe Biden from non-campaign email addresses belonging to the campaign’s affiliates,” Burt wrote.
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Biden’s press secretary Jamal Brown noted in an email that Microsoft said the efforts were ineffective.
“We have known from the beginning of our campaign that we would be subject to such attacks and we are prepared for them,” he iterated.
Burt also wrote differently, that Iran had “unsuccessfully attempted to log into the accounts of Administration officials and Donald J. Trump for President campaign staff” in May and June.
Thea McDonald, deputy national press secretary for the Trump campaign, said in an email that it was “not surprising to see malicious activity directed at the campaign.”
“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,” McDonald said.
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Although only Russia has regularly hacked campaigns to steal information rather than merely collect intelligence, Iran targeting Trump and China targeting Biden does not necessarily imply a willingness to see those candidates fail.
In a public statement in August, the National Intelligence Director’s Office reported that each one showed a preference for manipulating operations in those countries: China and Iran primarily denigrated Trump, and Russia tried to harm Biden.
Christopher Krebs, United States owner. Protection Department for Safety and Telecommunications, said Burt ‘s statement was a warning to keep alert for the U.S.
“The announcement is consistent with earlier statements by the Intelligence Community on a range of malicious cyber activities targeting the 2020 campaign and reinforces that this is an all-of-nation effort to defend democracy,” Says Krebs in a quote. “Everyone involved in the political process should stay alert against these sorts of attacks.”